Cameras Put In Probation Department Vehicles

(July 8)  The county probation department will be outfitting the vehicles it uses to transport its juvenile charges with video and audio recording systems.
The county board of supervisors this week gave go-ahead to a purchase order with Wild Rose Motors, Ltd. in the amount of $134,034 for the purchase and installation of an in-car video recording system for probation department vehicles used to move minors to and from the juvenile detention facilities in Apple Valley and San Bernardino.
As part of the program, the board of supervisors also agreed to purchase, at a total cost of  $22,000, two storage servers to which the video images will be downloaded.
According to Christine Owens, the county’s deputy chief probation officer, “The probation department has a need to procure an in-car video recording system to provide audio and video recordings in transportation vehicles used to move minors to/from the juvenile detention and assessment centers in Apple Valley and San Bernardino. Such systems provide security cameras, as well as features to allow for real time monitoring of high risk transports to court facilities, medical appointments, or other locations. In addition to providing a solution to capture audio and video within each vehicle, the department is seeking a system that can wirelessly upload the vehicle’s on-board memory to a local server (supplied by the department) when in proximity to  either of the two juvenile detention and assessment centers. Proceeding with the purchase of an in-car video recording system will increase the department’s ability to observe juveniles, provide staff a strong measure of security when juveniles claim staff acted inappropriately, and protect juveniles from false claims.”
According to Owens, the department contacted five vendors known for their leadership in the in-car video recording system field and requested the opportunity to evaluate their respective equipment in San Bernardino County vehicles. Three vendors, Lenexa, Kansas-based Digital Ally, Anaheim-based Wild Rose Motors and Houston-based COBAN Technologies, Inc. responded and agreed to install their equipment in department transportation vehicles for demonstration purposes.
The department evaluated each vendor’s equipment for two months and then solicited quotes from the three vendors.
Digital Ally’s system cost $58,058.64. Wild Rose Motors’ system cost $134,033.93. COBAN Technologies’ system cost $176.971.10
“Although the quote submitted by Digital Ally was the least costly, the features and quality of their equipment do not best meet the needs of the department,” Owens said. “The equipment features included in the quote submitted by Wild Rose Motors, Ltd., meet the following higher standards favored by the department: high definition video, enhanced audio, true night infrared vision, military grade equipment, [and] federal standards for encryption, date stamping, and water marking. Because these additional features are not available with the system provided by Digital Ally, the department recommends a purchase order with Wild Rose Motors, Ltd. for the purchase and installation of a Martel Electronics Digital Cruise
R3 system in each of the Department’s 18 transportation vehicles. Included in the purchase is a three-year extended warranty on component equipment. The department is also requesting separate approval for two servers that will be needed to store data resulting from this system.”
Owens hinted that problems during the transportation of juvenile offenders have already occurred and/or that accusations against probation officers by their wards have already been made.
“For security reasons, the department considers it best to obtain board approval to purchase the in-car video recording system at this time rather than delaying until the next quarterly budget report.” she said.

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