(April 4, 2014) The city will be shelling out $116,700 to overhaul the Ocean City Police Department’s detainment area control system, after city staff have been unsuccessful in trying to restore the equipment since a “catastrophic failure” last year.
“We had doors locking and unlocking at the detention center all on their own,” said City Engineer Terry McGean, who also oversees the town’s Information Technology services.
“Even with the temporary repairs, we’re only able to open less than half the cells. As the summer approaches, the police can’t move forward that way.”
The issues were the result of widespread failure in the software and electronics that control the OCPD’s holding cells at the 65th Street Public Safety Building. The system was installed when the building was constructed in 1994, and later updated with a touch-screen interface known as the “Galaxy System” in 2006.
The interface controls a number of aspects of the detention area, including door locks, intercoms, monitors, lights, and detainee showers.
According to a memo from OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro, the Galaxy System experienced two major breakdowns at the end of last summer.
Further repairs by city IT staff were only able to restore some functionality. The company that installed the system no longer supports it.
Instead, McGean recommended this week that council approve the expenditure to have Advantech replace the failed system with a “Pro-Watch” setup – the same system and vendor used elsewhere in the Public Safety Building..
The city’s detention center is not intended for long-term prisoners, although some may be held for a few days during the busy summer months before they are transferred. The OCPD processed 2,947 detainees last year, according to Buzzuro’s memo.