A major expansion for Ward County's jail is in the works, but the existing jail is getting a security upgrade now.
The county commission has approved spending nearly 20 thousand dollars for four new outside security cameras at the jail.
Currently, the only camera watching the outside of the jail is over the door that allows access to law enforcement vehicles bringing suspects to the jail.
But Captain Bob Barnard of the Ward County Sheriff's Department says some recent problems point out the need for cameras monitoring the outside of the jail building.
(Capt. Bob Barnard, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "We've had some issues with security on the east side of the jail, we had a window broken from the outside in and we don't have any cameras out there to watch that area. We've also had some situations with some people congregating because the cell windows are on street level and people can walk in there and try to look in the windows and we've had some issues with that."
Barnard also says employees are requesting a camera to keep track of the area under the skywalk, near the door where they must exit the building to get to cars in the parking lot.
(Capt. Bob Barnard, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "One would be under the skywalk, one on the southeast corner, one on the northeast corner, and one on the southwest corner. That hopefully would cover some of the construction area and the new construction area to the north of the jail building. And barring some change that I'm not aware of I don't know why even with the new building in place those cameras wouldn't remain there and function well."
The new security cameras are expected to cost about nine thousand dollars - with installation predicted to cost about the same amount.