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The Lincoln County Detention Center intercom system needs to be replaced in order to maintain the current contract for inmates from the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

The intercom system at the Lincoln County Detention Center doesn’t work. Replacing it is key to maintaining the current contract for inmates from the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

At the County Commission meeting on Monday in Pioche, County Internet Technician Tracy Lee talked about the need. “What we need to replace is the equipment that allows the intercoms to switch the various requests from cells, day rooms, doors, etc., through the appropriate control points inside the center.”

He noted that the equipment was updated several years ago, but the wiring was not replaced at the time, “and we’re having problems with that now, to where it is no longer functioning correctly.”

Little fix-it jobs and repairs, he said, have not solved the problems and have been “allowing us to limp along to meet our requirements for liability,” but more is needed.

Lee said he believes the system can be upgraded and replaced without having to spend large amounts of money. “We can do it with off-the-shelf products,” and said he had a working model available for commissioners to see at the facility if they so desire.

What will be expensive will be the intercom interfaces. They’re “about $400 dollars apiece, and I need about 40 of them,” he said.

Sheriff Kerry Lee told commissioners a few weeks ago that quite a bit of the rewiring work will be able to be handled in-house. “We have our own people who can do the work.” But he said local electrician Pete Florence, or someone else, will be needed to do some of other wirings. “Some of the wiring doesn’t go through the walls. It goes under the concrete slab, and may cause some problems.”

Wiring can be run through the ventilation system in pods A, B, C, and D, but in the other pods, he said, the conduits run underground, “and we’re going to need some additional tools and expertise.” He felt that would be the brunt of the expense, other than parts. He said a rough cost estimate for the electrician would be about $15,000.

Asked if a wireless system would work, Lee said it would not in the type of building the Detention Center is.

Commissioners approved a motion to spend up to $40,000 from the Special Projects Fund to cover the cost of the new intercom system.