Monday, August 30, 1999

High-tech cameras will
help OCCC guards
eye inmates

By Mary Adamski


Guards at Oahu Community Correctional Center will soon use a high-tech security monitoring system to keep a closer eye on inmate activities at the Kalihi prison.

Work will begin Wednesday on installation of the electronic system which will employ 98 digital cameras to scan all operational areas of the facility. Guards will monitor activities from high-resolution color consoles at a central location, at each holding module and in guard towers.

The system "uses a high-tech solution to significantly enhance the ability of officers to monitor and control the inmate population," said Mychal Kempt, general manager of Diebold Inc. in Hawaii.

He said it is "like increasing the work force without adding extra manpower." The Ohio-based international security company was awarded a $585,000 contract by the state Department of Public Safety.

Inmate labor will be used in the construction which will take about six months to complete. The contract specifications required the project to use inmates to perform much of the manual labor such as digging trenches and laying conduit and wiring. Inmates will not be privy to any critical information about the system's operation, according to a Diebold news release.

About two-thirds of the cameras have the capability to pan, tilt and zoom allowing officers to focus on specific activities. The closed-circuit television and intercom system is designed to give the prison flexibility in its usage.

State Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said the system will be a major improvement over existing equipment and "helps create a safer working environment and better protects the public's interest."

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