Chaves County Updates Electronic Security System for Detention Centers

ROSWELL, N.M. — The Chaves County juvenile and adult detention centers in Roswell, are set to undergo a $13.2 million renovation that will include upgrades to electronic security systems in the county’s correctional facilities.

With offices in Roswell, ASA Architects, the firm serving as the project’s architect, hired Plano, Texas-based Latta Technical Services Inc. (LTS) as its electronic security consultant.

According to Igor Abadzic, engineering manager for LTS, the new system will replace all the current discrete logic boards and graphic control panels system.

“The new electronic security system will be an integrated system made up of several sub-systems that communicate with each other via a fault-tolerant, self-healing network,” Abadzic said.

The new state-of-the-art security control system will consist of Program Logic Controllers (PLCs), which continually monitor and automate many electromechanical processes, touchscreen control stations, digital intercom systems and an Internet Protocol-based management system.

Abadzic said the facilities currently function with an outdated system because it relied upon a discrete logic control using printed circuit boards with terminal points as well as solid state switches and relays. The wear and tear from its years of use, as well as more viable recent technology, prompted the renovation of the security electronics system.

“The system allows limited operations and alarm monitoring by the control station,” Abadzic said. “As one would expect, the control system has suffered from normal use, replacements, repairs and lack of maintenance. Many components are at the end of their useful lives.”

The way to determine the end of useful life, Abadzic said, is based upon availability of parts and services, total costs of in-house labor, effective response time and maintenance needs.

Abadzic recommends that correctional facilities provide staff with a straightforward system that provides the necessary tools to operate the facility with safety, security and efficiency.

“The security systems must present security information accurately and in a manner that is easily understood by system operators,” Abadzic said. “The security system components such as a digital intercom system, computer-based control system, card access system and digital video system, improve efficient and secure movement of staff and juveniles within the confines of the secure perimeter of the facility and contribute to staff alertness, reduces staff fatigue and increases the level of security.”

Abadzic considers the most effective update involved in the renovations at Chaves County to be the implementation of voice communication and monitoring between each individual room at the juvenile detention center and the control center.

“This will allow [correctional] officer’s instantaneous response in case of any emergency or juveniles need,” he said.

The biggest challenge for this project, he said, is that the renovations will take place while the facility is still occupied by inmates. In this situation, timing is of the utmost importance, he said.

“The electronic security system downtime has to be minimized to allow safe and secure operation during the construction phase of the project,” Abadzic said. “Coordination and communication between all involved parties is critical for the project’s success.”

In terms of costs for security electronics, he said money should be secondary to a security system’s primary goal.

“Any system improvement that would increase system reliability and minimize system failures would be a low cost comparing to safety of the juveniles and the facility’s staff,” Abadzic said. “In a juvenile facility, providing a quick response to an event is critical, otherwise serious injuries or death can occur.”