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Grant OKd to Fund Jail Computer System

October 26, 2000|TIMOTHY HUGHES

Ventura County sheriff's officials say a $1-million federal grant will launch their department into the information age while saving taxpayers money.

The Board of Supervisors approved a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday.

The $1 million will help offset the $3.1-million cost of revamping the Ventura County Jail's computer system. Sheriff's officials said they will borrow the rest of the money needed.

Sheriff Bob Brooks said the upgrades will allow the jail to better track the nearly 1,450 inmates currently in the system. The grant will help improve how the county tracks and documents prisoners at the county's four jails.

It will be a big change from the current tracking system, which has been in place since 1981. The paper-based system, Brooks said, keeps deputies digging through files instead of patrolling the streets.

Capt. Steve DeCesari, who is overseeing the grant, said the system has remained the same for 20 years, aside from an occasional upgrade.

He said the money will pay the bill for a contract with Ventura-based Programmers Inc. that is expected to top out at $880,000.

The company is set to provide the Sheriff's Department with six computer programmers who will recode the new software for inmate tracking, which the department purchased for $450,000.

The software upgrades in the County Jail system are part of a larger computer upgrade eventually linking the Sheriff's Department with the county's Probation Department of other law enforcement agencies, DeCesari said.

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