Jefferson County Sheriff John Wallace on Thursday elaborated on a new plan to provide video visitation at the jail.

He presented the proposal during the Board of Commissioners traveling meeting at Hanover Town Hall.

Securus Technologies, which currently handles the phone services for the jail, would install and run the new system.

Wallace said the company would install the equipment at no cost to the county and collect a fee for the service from inmates and other users. The system would work inside and outside the jail through an Internet connection. Those accessing the system outside the jail on an independent server would be charged a service fee. In-jail access would be free.

Wallace said the remote access will allow families to speak with their loved ones at the jail without the hassle of entering the facility.     

"I think this will be a huge success," Wallace said. "It's going to be much better for the facility, the inmates and their families, as well as the staff."

Once Securus has recovered its original investment in the project, Wallace said, the county will begin drawing a portion of the fees.

"It will be a money-making project for us," the sheriff said.

The visitations would be recorded and monitored by the jail staff, much like the phone calls currently are, and could be used in the courts. The exception for the recordings would be exchanges between legal counsel and inmates.

Wallace said he hopes to implement the program at the jail next year.

In other business:

• Dave Bell, county emergency management director, received the highest rating of any EMA director in the state from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. The department conducts assessments yearly, and a high rating means the agency provides reimbursement for half of the director's annual salary. Jefferson County has scored at the top of its district - which includes 12 counties - for the past five years.

• The commissioners also heard from Terry Crank, owner of Terry's Heating & Cooling, about the Jefferson County Health Department HVAC system. Crank told the commissioners he thought a total overhaul of the system could be avoided and that there were numerous options for repairs.

Commissioner Tom Pietrykowski suggested that each contractor who intends to bid on the project come up with two or three options. 

• Wallace reported that the average daily jail population was 120.7 for September. In August, the average daily population was 132.

• Wallace asked that the commissioners reduce the speed limit in The Meadows subdivision on State Road 7 from 35 mph to 25 mph for safety. The board took the suggestion under advisement in order to obtain public comment.