Grant would fund video equipment for arraignments
CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County may finally get a video arraignment system.
Mississippi County commissioners reviewed a letter during their regular meeting Thursday from David A. Dolan, circuit judge for the 33rd Judicial Court, advising he is applying for a $15,000 grant from the Office of State Court Administrator to purchase video cameras and view stations and have them installed on mobile carts at the Mississippi County Detention Center and county courthouse.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said the letter lists the total cost of the of the project as $24,100. He said fiber optic cable to connect the jail and courthouse is listed as the most expensive part of the project.
Officials noted $9,100 is not covered by the grant. Lynn Brown, associate judge for the circuit in Mississippi County, may have available and approve using money from the law library fund.
The other half of the 33rd circuit, Scott County, has had video arraignment equipment since 2003.
In 2006, Dolan applied for a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for video arraignment equipment for Mississippi County but was advised the amount requested in Missouri far exceeded the state's level of funding.
In other business Thursday:
* Commissioners approved a change to the county's 911 agreement with East Prairie to keep it in effect without the need for periodic renewals.
A five-year agreement with East Prairie, under which the city dispatches 911 calls for the southern half of the county in exchange for funding from the county's 911 funds, has expired, according to DeLay.
DeLay said he drafted a new agreement.
"I changed it so it would be in perpetuity like Charleston's," he said.
The agreement is contingent upon approval by the East Prairie's Board of Aldermen which meets Thursday.
Upon approval, the agreement stipulates that either party may end the agreement after a 60-day notice, according to DeLay.
* Don Robinson, the professional trapper who has a contract with the county to remove beavers from county-maintained ditches, recently got a notable catch in Ditch 23.
"He said he got two 70-pounders," Lucas said.
Commissioners discussed having county road and bridge workers remove the beaver dam once water has dropped enough that it can be seen.
* County roads are still too wet to get any grading done, according to commissioners.
"I'm just astonished the roads are so bad," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said. "I don't know what you can do about it."
Blumenberg said if crews try to grade wet gravel roads, "it will go from potholes to mudholes."
Commissioners agreed the county could use its graders to clear the forecasted snow from county roads if needed.