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Vilas County purchases new car for courthouse fleet

April 17, 2020 by Kayla Houp

The Vilas County board’s public property committee voted unanimously on Tuesday, March 10 to authorize the purchase of a 2020 Jeep Renegade with all-wheel drive for the price of $27,295 with the intent of adding the vehicle to the county’s courthouse fleet.

“This was a budgeted item, and just because of the cost, we’ll always go back to the committee to have them approve that we did it,” Vilas County clerk Dave Alleman told The Lakeland Times on Thursday, March 12.

Alleman stated it was likely the county would remove or dispose of a vehicle in the fleet following the summer months.

“We have one that’s probably going to need tires by the end of the summer, but we’ll run it until that time,” he said.

Alleman said it was a common practice for the county to purchase new vehicles and keep them in the fleet for five to six years depending on mileage.

While the county had, in the past, used decommissioned police vehicles, Alleman said it depended on the vehicles that were available and were suitable for the county’s needs.

He added they had received a vehicle from the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office approximately two months ago which was assigned to Juvenile Intake.

“What we’ve learned from those vehicles when we’ve put them in the pool in the past is that a lot of them are pretty played out, so you don’t get a lot of use out of them before they require more maintenance and costs,” he said.

Digital records retention

The committee also voted unanimously to reduce the digital records retention for non-law enforcement video records from 120 days to 45.

At the committee’s Jan. 14 meeting, information technology director Mike Duening outlined potential cost savings in reducing digital records retention for non-law enforcement records.

Currently, Vilas County retains two types of video surveillance: law enforcement and non-law enforcement, with law enforcement being footage for the county’s Justice Center and jail.

The committee approved the 45-day retention for courthouse video data only, while the county’s justice center and jail would maintain a 120-day retention period.

“We cannot apply that, and never intended to apply that, in the Justice Center and the jail,” Alleman said. “In the courthouse, it will be a 45-day retention.”

He said the courthouse wasn’t under the same Wis. State Statute that implemented a 120-day video data retention period for law enforcement-related video records.

“The method that we have is that if there is any incident, anything reported, it’s very easy then to save that footage, and that footage would be saved until after 120 days, that’s the length of time a person has to file a complaint or a claim,” Alleman said. “So, we would keep that information as forensic evidence.”

According to Alleman, not having to retain courthouse data for 120 days would save the county approximately $140,000 over a five-year period.

Other items

The committee Tuesday also:

• Directed building and grounds maintenance leader Russ Szuta to get a price quote from Johnson Controls for the installation of an airborne pathogen removal system that, when installed as part of the filtering system in air handling units in the building, utilizes a lighting system that removes approximately 99% of airborne pathogens.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]

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