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County praises Glendale jail

Facility is considered exemplary for its cost-saving video system, efficiency and attention to detail

July 02, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

DOWNTOWN — Glendale's jail was singled out in a lengthy grand jury report of detention centers for being among the best run facilities in the county.

The Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury on Wednesday released its annual report on an in-depth investigation into various city and county programs, including video teleconferencing, inmate healthcare, water and trash services and more.

The grand jury's Detention Committee also praised facilities in Beverly Hills, Inglewood, and East Los Angeles.

The Glendale city jail "was a newer facility that through the efforts of the commander and staff can be used as a best practices model of cleanliness, maintenance and efficiency," the report stated.

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The report's authors went on to describe the Glendale Police Department as a "prime example of positive command and policies and attention to detail."

The grand jury sent eight teams on unannounced visits to 100 detention facilities countywide to investigate inmate and building conditions, according to the report.

The teams found most jails complied with the grand jury's Detention Committee standards, but only those with the highest marks received commendations.

"My philosophy is to not settle for the way business is being done on a day-to-day basis, but to continuously evaluate greater potential for efficiency, effectiveness and to evaluate everyone to a higher level of professionalism," Glendale Jail Administrator Juan Lopez said.

The Police Department recently began charging a $135 fee from some inmates booked into the jail in an effort to recover tens of thousands of dollars in administrative costs

The grand jury also visited Glendale's jail to look into its nearly two-year-old video conferencing program, which they detailed in their report as being cost effective for law enforcement and justice agencies within the county, according to the report.

The system allows inmates to make court appearances and give interviews remotely, cutting down on the need for costly transit and security costs.

"It's out-of-the-box thinking," Lopez said.

Expanding a similar video-conferencing program throughout the county could cut down on inmate transportation and security costs, according to the report.

"They looked at this from every possible angle, from cost efficiency, implementation, and they really gave it a good look," Lopez said. "I really got no slack from these folks."

As result of the report's findings, the grand jury recommended drafting a five-year strategic plan for implementing a similar video conferencing countywide.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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