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November 27, 2020

10/30/2020 3:42:00 PM
UV robots put to work in jail

If you read the law enforcement page in this paper it’s obvious  the  number of bookings weekly into the county jail are inching back up to normal.  The more turnover in the jail population, however, the greater the chance of covid virus spread.  Chisago County Sheriff Brandon Thyen is now looking to ensure a safer jail environment in doing what many other jails have opted to do, use technology to attack the virus.

The County Board last week gave the sheriff authorization to spend $114,000 on two Skytron 1140 Sentry sanitizing “robots” which use 360 degree emittance of ultra violet light to kill germs.  

The money is out of the several million dollars the county received in federal government CARES Act dispersement.
An immediate benefit is the robots will free up time now being spent on cleaning.  

Jail Administrator Jonathan Gray said the device is placed in a cell and scans the enclosed area square footage and calculates its cleaning cycle. The usual cell takes 15 minutes.  Having two will enable upper floor and ground floor jail sanitizing. Staff who have had intensive cleaning tasks added to their day may now be able to get back on a regular schedule. The results are very nearly 100 percent sanitization.  

Sheriff Brandon Thyen said, similar devices have been deployed in hospitals for years.  

He added, “Covid has manifested as a challenge to correctional facilities. Heavily regimented cleaning schedules, mandatory quarantine protocols for inmates and technology to facilitate court appearances” are just a few of the mandates imposed on law enforcement.

Also--county CARES Act aid was directed by the County Board to cover a one-time compensation for $175,000 in vacation and accrued time-off not used,  during the pandemic.  

County Administrator Chase Burnham said usual contract language calls for “use it or lose it” but, the covid-19 CARES Act subcommittee recommends using the aid for compensating the hard-working staff.  Burnham said the standard policy will be re-instituted after the pandemic is resolved.

CARES Act funding may be used for expenses incurred during the pandemic, related to pandemic needs and not accounted for in the annual budget and the County Board earmarked a good portion of the aid received for business and non-profit financial relief as well.

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