Sheriff’s office employees receive statewide awards, board approves RFID tracking system for county jail inmates

Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting took place at 9 a.m. at the Collins Building. Commissioners Newt Stephens, Leon Warner, and Lane Whitehouse were present.

Three Sheriff’s office staff members were recognized by the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association at the 2020 OSA Conference. Sheriff Bret Bowling credited these outstanding recipients who were chosen from all 77 Oklahoma counties. Cynthia Thompson won the 2020 Detention Officer of the Year award in recognition of her 8 years of service as a detention officer. “She sets a high example of what a detention officer should be,” said Bowling. 

The next recipient was Scott Ray, who has been a sheriff’s deputy for 3 years. In January he responded to a car fire in Sapulpa where he rescued a small child from the burning vehicle and attempted to save the driver. He is being recognized with the 2020 Life Saving Award. 

The third recipient was Eric Tilley, who began at Creek County as a detention officer and then moved to the patrol division in December of 2018. In October of 2019 he responded to a sexual abuse call at a residence. Upon arrival a pursuit ensued, eventually terminating at the original location. At this point Tilley came under fire and placed himself between the suspect and victim. Tilley fired back and his car sustained damage. He received the 2020 Medal of Valor award. 

Bowling commended all three recipients, saying “this just proves how dangerous our jobs are” and “these deputies are shining examples of how dedicated and heroic our employees are.” Commissioner Stephens and the entire Board of County Commissioners thanked each officer for their service, saying, “We know you all [are on] 24/7 and we appreciate all you do.” 

Creek County 2020 OSA recipients, from left: Scott Ray, recipient of the 2020 Life Saving Award, Eric Tilley, recipient of the 2020 Medal of Valor, Cynthia Thompson, recipient of the 2020 Detention Officer of the Year award, and Creek County Sheriff, Bret Bowling.

RFID inmate tracking system approved 

Chief Deputy Fred Clark gave an explanation of the new Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) system that will be implemented soon at the jail. The cost is expected to be $40-60,000 and bids will be opened on October 26. 

The RFID system is a safety measure that will greatly reduce human error at the jail. Each inmate will be issued a number when they are booked into the jail, and given a wristband, similar to hospital wristbands, with this number. The number will be scanned by officers during headcounts, when issuing commissary items, when certain commissary items (such as razors) are turned it, when issuing and turning in food trays, when inmates leave the facility to go to court, anytime inmates leave their pod, among other situations.  

In addition to being able to accurately track dangerous items like razors, another Covid-related safety precaution RFID will provide is allowing officers to stay distanced from inmates while performing headcounts. 

Not only will the jail be able to track inmates’ whereabouts and movements in real time, they will also be able to go back and analyze which inmates gather together in certain places or who was in the vicinity when a fight breaks out. This can help officers mitigate or even prevent disturbances. This system has been used with much success at other jails in the area. 

Sheriff’s office audit

As reported last week, the Sheriff’s office’s annual Commissary Report from 2019 was missing from the rest of its reports for its annual audit. Bowling returned this week with an updated and completed report for the commissioners to review. It stated that proceeds from the commissary provider were $148,118.41, payments to the provider were $118,811.95, giving a net profit of $30,118.41. It has a current adjusted bank balance of $144,834.45. 

Inmates to attend remote meetings via new technology at jail 

The BOCC approved the purchase of new equipment from the CARES Act reimbursement fund to allow inmates to remotely attend various programs while reducing the risk to them and staff. Clark stated that this equipment will allow inmates to participate in AA meetings and church services, among other essential programs, which they have not been able to do since Covid began. The  jail will be able to live stream programs via a large monitor encased in unbreakable plexiglass. The quote from CastleCom to set up the equipment was approximately $3,500. 

Change order approved for Collins Building elevator 

Project coordinator Paul Farris stated that a change order for approximately $3,000 is needed to pay Otis Elevator Company to install stainless steel door panels in the Collins Building elevator that were not included in the original bid. As reported last week, the elevator is undergoing a much-needed, scheduled modernization. The installation will take two days and it was discussed that it would be ideal to do it this Friday since Monday is a Federal holiday and the building is already scheduled to be closed to the public. This was unanimously approved.

E. B. Thompson

E. B. Thompson

Born and raised in Sapulpa, Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and is a former banker. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown with her husband Michael and to be contributing to The Sapulpa Times.