Tuscaloosa County Commissioners agree to buy COVID equipment for Sheriff’s Office

Tuscaloosa Co. Sheriff's Office receives funds for COVID-19 equipment

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa County Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to pay for equipment Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy requested to better protect people from coronavirus.

“This will allow us to implement this equipment that’s going to be imperative considering the COVID issues we have today to ensure the safety of our inmates and our staff,” Abernathy explained.

Commissioners agreed to spend $436,000 for five pieces of equipment that will be used at the Tuscaloosa County Jail and or the County Courthouse. That equipment at the jail will include body scanners, metal detectors and something for telemedicine.

“One of the things I’m very excited about is the telemedicine capability. That’s going to allow us to both get access to medical staff even quicker. But at the same time, hopefully minimize the number of inmates who have to be moved out of the facility. That also reduces the threat of bringing a virus into the facility,” the Sheriff continued.

Deputies currently use hand-held scanners to test folks’ temperatures on their forehead. In the future, people will be able to walk through a full body scanner to check their temperature.

“We’ve got the fleer device that’s going to be checking temperatures. If you’re going into the courthouse today, you’ll see folks their temperatures are checked. This is a better piece of equipment that can do it automatically by itself without the employee having to do it by hand,” Sheriff Abernathy added.

Sheriff Abernathy says there is a December 30 deadline to get the request and have that money recouped through the CARES Act. It’s still unclear how much of the $436,000 purchase will be covered through that legislation.

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