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New Cameras Fill Security Holes

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It will be the first major improvement in security since the Brazos County Juvenile Detention Center was built eight years ago.

"All in all the capabilities far exceed the old system," says Collin Coker, Interm Executive Director.

Twenty-four new surveillance cameras will fill the holes in the center's current security system. The new cameras will be able to see what before has gone undetected.

The price tag; $25,000. But Coker says the alternative would be more costly.

"Our main priority is protection of the juveniles in our custody and on the case work side we want to make sure they're getting the treatment programs to rehabilitate them -- on the detention side we want to make sure they're protected. Number one protect the juveniles and second the county from lawsuits," says Coker.

And if allegations are made by inmates, the county will now have the video documentation of what goes on behind closed doors.

"Anytime you're dealing with an inmate population you have allegations and security issues you have to take into account, this will allow us to cover some areas that the juvenile population was in and record those in case an allegation arose, we will have the video to dispute that with," says Coker.

The detention center's Executive Director Rhonda Gilchrist, who initiated the upgrades, is still on paid administrative leave after being accused of unfair layoffs.

The county has conducted a survey of employees that could determine when she may return.

The findings of the county's employee surveys may be ready as soon as the first week of January and a decision is expected then.