$500K ARPA grant funds Mo. jail security improvements

The grant, which is half of the project, will fund emergency call boxes, improve security cameras and add new fencing mesh

By Jenna Wilson
St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Buchanan County Jail will be enhancing security thanks to a half-million-dollar federal grant.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett said the American Rescue Plan Act funds will be utilized at the county jail by providing emergency call boxes, improving security cameras and adding a new fencing mesh.

"We will be putting emergency call boxes in every cell to ensure we can directly communicate with the inmates, even when they're locked down," Puett said. "We'll also be adding and improving the jail's security cameras and putting a fencing mesh on the upper tiers and stairwells in the housing area. Housing could really use some security improvements."

Puett said the total costs of the improvements are estimated at $1.2 million. Half will be covered by the grant funding, and the other half will be covered by the county.

"We're looking into the capital improvement funds and other sources that will assist us with the cost," Puett said. "The county commissioners have been very supportive of this from the start, and we're both ready to get this project started to make sure our jail is in the safest condition."

Puett said the responsibility for the inmates' safety is in the hands of the staff, and improving jail security is one way to ensure safety is sustained.

"The sheriff is charged with the care, custody and confinement of the inmates, and we want to make sure we do that in the safest manner possible," he said. "I can't speak highly enough of the staff who works back there because they're already doing that daily. This will just enhance security measures we already have and provide more safety for the inmates and staff."


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