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Commission awards bid for tele-justice project

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Commission voted 6-0 Monday to award a $346,000 contract to put advanced video conferencing equipment in local facilities.

The funding, which comes from federal stimulus funds, was awarded to SKC, which was the lowest responsible bidder, county officials say.

Both Sheriff Kevin Sproul and District Attorney Greg Edwards have endorsed the system, which is used in courts and jails around the country.

Edwards has said that the system could likely save the county money because it will help reduce the expenses of flying witnesses and experts in from around the country to testify at major trials.

Sproul, who is constitutionally mandated to operate the jail and defend the courts, said telejustice is an opportunity to provide additional security.

The system has the possibility of being used at the jail, where inmates can appear before a judge without leaving the security of the facility.

Court hearings are already held at the jail in some circumstances, but in instances where there could be security concerns or a particularly violent offender, the system could be used to avoid transporting a defendant from the jail to a court date downtown.