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Commission okays new surcharge

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

The Platte County Commission on Thursday approved a new court cost surcharge for developing a biometric verification system.

The court surcharge of $2 from criminal cases will be used to pay for the initial cost of the system as well as the continued maintenance and operation of the devices.

According to Frank Hunter, captain with the Sheriff's Department, the system uses a digital fingerprint scanner as well as other methods including DNA and retinal scans to identify inmates.

“The first person we tested with the system had a warrant in a different state under an alias,” said Hunter.

Currently the Sheriff's Department has a smaller mobile unit it uses in the Detention Center. The surcharge will fund the purchase of a larger unit to use in the Detention Center and the mobile unit will be used for standard background checks by the department.

“We have seen the future become now,” said Captain Randall Pittman, division commander. “This captures electronically a fingerprint and it attempts to match it in a database. Previously we sent a card to the FBI and they would look at it by hand.”

According to Hunter, the cost will be around $40,000 for the new system and there will also be costs for the network, maintenance, and processing.

“We believe this will be sufficient funds for the system,” said Hunter. “There will be zero cost to the county and it will take effect as soon as we can create a special account.”

The county is allowed to charge the $2 surcharge fee because of laws passed by the Missouri government.

Missouri Revised Statute 488.5026 states that funds can, “be utilized to develop biometric verification systems to ensure that inmates can be properly identified and tracked within the local jail system. Upon the installation of the biometric verification system, funds in the inmate security fund may be used for the maintenance of the biometric verification system, and to pay for any expenses related to custody and housing and other expenses for prisoners.”

The fee will be applied to all criminal cases including the violation of a county ordinance. Fees will also apply to criminal and traffic cases unless the charges are dismissed and other costs would be paid by the local government.

The commission also approved the recommendation to offer stormwater grants to several entities in Platte County. Those receiving grants include the Lake Waukomis Association for $47,777; Walnut Creek South Homes Association for $43,287; Farley Special Road District for $12,537; Village of Ferrelview for $2,500; City of Northmoor for $3,277; City of Platte City for $980; City of Riverside for $30,000; City of Weatherby Lake for $37,571; and City of Weston for $7,600.

The commission approved the purchase of two new trucks for the Public Works department from KCR Diamond for $91,701 per truck.


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