The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is the first department in the Midwest to roll out a new device to better track the health of inmates in the jail.
Inmates wear the device, which checks their vitals more than 700 times a minute. This way, if there is a problem, jail staff will know immediately and can get help. This device Custody Protect will allow jail staff to keep an eye on the health of inmates from a phone screen. In the beginning, they will be able to monitor up to 32 inmates at once, with the goal of preventing deaths in the jail.
John DeFalco with 4Sight Labs says the Custody Protect device will notify jail staff and dispatch immediately if an inmate is in MEDICAL distress.
"We would have alarm bells flash, that would look like this. You have an alert go off. This will make this sound and flash,” said DeFalco.
Sheriff Vic Regalado says it can take only a minute for an inmate to commit suicide, or for someone to overdose. He says this device can help save lives.
"When we are talking about inmates going into distress, minutes and seconds mean everything between life and death. We believe this will cut that in half, said Regalado.
Regaldo says the workforce is shrinking, so they've been looking forward to this type of technology that can help them continue to do their job effectively. He says it will allow them to better care for inmates in jail, but also out on the streets when a suspect is in handcuffs.
"With human effort alone, it is not possible to monitor people enough closely to protect them. When people come into this situation, our deputies and police have to go from arrest to rescue in the blink of an eye,” said DeFalco.
"This system we believe has to potential to be a game-changer in law enforcement. Not only in the jail setting, but out in the street in which we answer calls for service,” said Regalado.
Regalado says they will start using these devices in the mental health pod first, then eventually have them on the streets for all deputies. The long-term goal is to use them on all inmates.