Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center asks for facility upg - – Rockford’s News Leader

Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center asks for facility upgrades


It's been nearly two decades, since the Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center has seen any kind of improvements. 

"Our current metal detector doesn't work well. It may not detect cell phones which is a huge concern in our facility," said Superintendent Bill Vedra. "We currently have an intercom system from a company that is no longer in business." 

Just two problems, Vedra is looking to fix with a $325,000 improvement project.

"That's what money is in our budget, and we should, we will be able to bring it in below that amount," said Vedra. 

That includes remodeling the front lobby, replacing the metal detector and upgrading the facility's cameras and touch pad technology

"We're hoping to get some additional security in there, and make it nicer for people going in and out," said Vedra.

But first, Vedra needs county board approval. And with the county budget stretched thin, not everyone's completely convinced this is the right move for the detention center this year. 

"It's a tough time right now, when we're tightening the screws on finances and spending right now," said county board member Aaron Booker. 

Booker says he needs to first determine if the project is a priority.

"You have your nice-to-haves and your must-haves, and right now the nice-to-haves have to take a back seat," said Booker. "We can only go with must-haves." 

But the detention center says these upgrades are becoming those must-have items after being passed over the last few years in previous budgets. 

"You're either going to do this in a planned move, all at once, or it's going to break," said Vedra. 

However, Vedra says he hopes it doesn't come to that and hopes the county board thinks it's as an important fix as he does. 

The public safety committee will discuss resolutions for the project Thursday evening, which if approved could head straight to county board for vote, as well.

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