CLEARFIELD – A Central Booking Center has opened at the Clearfield County Jail, announced District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. at a news conference yesterday afternoon.
The booking center, Shaw said, is equipped with the latest technology to enable video arraignments. The new equipment, he said, includes live scan fingerprint processing that is connected to both state and federal records and enables real–time notification of criminal records and wanted persons.
According to him, the booking center also includes equipment for the registration of sex offenders. He noted that recent changes in law now require sex offenders to be fingerprinted and photographed prior to being released from incarceration.
The law, Shaw explained, further requires that sex offenders regularly update their address and photographs and establishes that county officials are responsible for the registration procedures. He indicated that prior laws required the state police to be responsible for the registration of sex offenders.
Shaw said the booking center will save countless tax dollars and provide more efficient law enforcement services to Clearfield County. Shaw explained that in the past, when a police officer made an arrest, they had to travel to a magisterial district judge’s office in order to conduct an arraignment. Now, the officer can simply take a suspect to the jail and utilize online technology to conduct video arraignments.
This procedure, he said, shortens the time that a particular officer is out of service for the purpose of arraignment. In the past, he noted that an officer could be out of service for an hour or more. The new booking center, he said, should enable arraignments to be conducted in minutes, which quickly places the officer back in service to the community.
Shaw was pleased to announce that the booking center was constructed at no cost to the taxpayers of Clearfield County. Shaw said the project was funded through grant money received from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), as well as fine money paid by those charged with criminal offenses.
Shaw said in essence, the project was largely funded by those who commit crimes. Inmate labor was used to complete modifications in the jail to house the booking center. Shaw said that used parts and materials were salvaged from the former County Home.
He added that Clearfield County now has two booking centers. One is located at the jail and the other is at the Sandy Township Police Department. He said the booking centers streamline the arrest process and enable officers to spend more time on patrol and much less time transporting prisoners for “booking” purposes.
Shaw said the booking center project was intended to save tax dollars, to enhance police presence in the community and to provide a more efficient and cost effective criminal justice system in Clearfield County.
He said many people helped the booking center project materialize through the time of its opening. He thanked the following individuals: Sam Lombardo, jail warden; Tony Scotto, county controller; Laurie Reed, fines and costs coordinator, Lisa Kovalick, county grant writer; Joe Bigar, emergency management director; Jeremy Ruffner, emergency management deputy director; Adam Curry, county information technology director; and Chris Beck, data management and programming director.
He thanked President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman; Judge Paul E. Cherry; the Clearfield County Commissioners; Keri Hull, PCCD local representative; Barry Angstadt, county maintenance; and Ron Smith, jail maintenance. He also thanked Lezzer Lumber, Swisher Concrete, the Tool Shed, Clearfield Electric, TD Fabricating, Ron’s Locksmith and Torrell and Bernardo Custom Homes of DuBois for their assistance with the booking center project.
Anyone with knowledge or information about a crime is asked to call Clearfield County Crime Stoppers at 800-376-4700. All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by visiting the Clearfield County District Attorney Web site at “www.ClearfieldDA.org” and selecting “Report A Crime.”