Jail looks for funds to install cameras
April 27, 2003
The recent assault on two high-profile inmates by cell mates at the Carson City Jail exposes the facility’s need for cameras inside the cell blocks, authorities say.
Jason Laurie, 28, being held on charges of sexually assaulting unconscious patients while a nurse at Carson-Tahoe Hospital, told jail officials he was assaulted by another inmate April 10 over a dispute about television.
Had their been a video or digital recording of the event, staff would know who attacked whom first, said Lt. Ray Saylo.
“But there’s no money for cameras,” he said.
Subsequent interviews with witnesses backed up Laurie’s statement, he said.
That wasn’t the case with an April 18 assault on a man serving 30 days for his part in the 1998 motel room beating death of Sammy Resendiz.
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“Michael Kizer had a small cut on his head and a little blood on his shirt, but refused to give any details about the incident,” Saylo said. “We can’t force a victim to tell us.”
Jail deputies could have seen it for themselves if a camera had been recording the block, he said.
The jail, built in 1997 as part of the $22 million Public Safety Complex, has plenty of high-tech features in its design and its security. But when it comes to eyes in the sky, in a state where they are common in casinos, parking lots and traffic intersections, the jail has cameras only in hallways and entryways.
With a limited staff, it’s impossible to see what’s happening with inmates in the cell blocks at all times, Saylo said.
“I think cameras are a tremendous idea” said Sheriff Ken Furlong. “If an incident occurs in the jail, we need to have all the details.”
He said cameras are like insurance for deputies accused of mistreating the inmates and could deter inmates from misbehaving.
He also sees the cameras as reminding deputies to always be professional.
“If you have the ability to see yourself, you improve,” he said.
Estimates on eight cameras, about two per cell block, have come in at $11,000, Saylo said.
Furlong said the department is actively pursuing grants to cover the cost of equipment and installation.
“We are working in that direction. Anything we can possibly do to enhance the safety and security of detention we will do,” he said. “Cameras could lessen the possibility that we will pay for errors in the long run.”