Quicker, safer control system a welcome upgrade at jail

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GREENFIELD — A new computerized control system is making the Hancock County Jail a more secure facility and a safer place for staff to work, officials say.

The new system, which utilizes a touch screen to unlock doors within the jail, replaces an outdated rocker-panel system installed when the jail was first built in 1988.

The system is part of a $1 million bond the county took out last year.

For staff, the $159,000 system is a serious upgrade. For years, jailers have dealt with broken switches and frequently malfunctioning parts that, at times, left staff members stuck in areas and temporarily unable to access other parts of the jail when certain doors wouldn’t open.

“You’re leaving people hanging between the doors trying to get through,” Jail Commander Capt. Andy Craig said. “Some of them have been in there five minutes. It happened quite a bit.”

Besides the inconvenience, having an unreliable system could spell danger for staff and inmates alike if a fight broke out or someone was suffering from a medical emergency.

“If you’re having to get back somewhere, … seconds can count in those situations,” Hancock County Sheriff Mike Shepherd said.

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