Darlington County Detention Center seeks security upgrades

The Sheriff's office says the Darlington County' Detention Center is in need of major security upgrades.

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The Darlington County Sheriff’s office said the county’s detention center is in need of major security upgrades.

The center was built in 1999, and still has the same surveillance camera system it had when the building opened. Now the Sheriff’s Office looking for approval to bring the center’s security system into the 21st century.

When it comes to corrections facilities like Darlington County’s, Lt. Robert Kilgo with the Sheriff’s Office thinks safety is a top priority.

“When we took a look at the detention center, the surveillance system was one of the things we knew needed to be updated,” recalled Lt. Kilgo, the Sheriff’s Public Information Officer.

Sheriff Tony Chavis and his administration asked Darlington County Council to approve spending more than $25,000 to improve security throughout the facility.

“The jail’s currently using an analog recording system,” said Kilgo. “We’re trying to move that to a digital video recording system.”

The county already has a company ready to start work. Montgomery Technology Systems said it will install five new digital surveillance cameras, and up to 48 brand-new analog cameras. Some of the older cameras will be kept, in order to save money.

“There’s some blind spots with the video,” Lt. Kilgo explained. “So by utilizing more cameras we’ll be able to cut down on those blind spots.”

This is especially important when it comes to complying with federal regulations meant to curb violence and sexual crimes in prisons.

“Right now with that surveillance system, it keeps us from being compliant,” Kilgo said.

In addition to new cameras, the company will install new internet-based detention control software–to keep track of the center’s more than 200 inmates–and upgrade door locks.

“The door-locking mechanism will keep our officers safe, and keep the inmates safe by keeping them separate from each other.” Kilgo explained.

Lt. Kilgo said the  project has one more hurdle before work can begin:

“The money’s already been allocated, we just need council’s approval to move forward.”

Darlington County Council meets Monday, March 6th at 6:00 p.m. at the Darlington County EMD annex off of E Bobo Newsome Hwy.