The Comanche County Juvenile Detention Center is finally getting a new security system. The Juveniles in the center had found a way to pick the locks and get out of their rooms. They don't get far since once their in the hallway, the guards are able to catch them before they can get through the door at the end. Now, that will all be coming to an end.
The worn out locks were disconcerting and especially troublesome knowing the young offenders had beaten the system. The old security system didn't pass inspection this year because it was outdated and simply didn't work. And, ever since then, they've been operating on a provisional license.
The county spent months researching the most cost effective way to upgrade the locks and they found a winner. Weatherbee Electric Incorporated of Oklahoma City has been awarded the bid to retrofit all 25 room locks. But JDC Director Rick Lowe says there's no point in putting a great lock on a twenty year old door - so, they're fitting the rooms with new doors that have built in locks - as one big mechanism.
"The facility was designed well back when it was built in 1987, but just with repeated wear and tear, it's occupied at full capacity virtually everyday of the year, and our staff has to work with the problematic doors, locks, control system and those things," says Lowe. The new doors need to be keyed into the master control room in the center. This means that all the exterior doors also have to be replaced and keyed; a total replacement of 52 doors.
And, there's more good news. The county was initially looking at spending almost $300,000 to replace the system. But, they say Weatherbee was both the lowest and best bid. So, today, they signed a contract for half that price - $161,000.