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Grand Forks County approves electronic medication system, money for emergency management

The Grand Forks County Office Building. Photo by Nick Nelson for the Grand Forks Herald.

The jail in Grand Forks will update how it keeps its medical records after the County Commission approved $74,000 for an electronic data system Tuesday evening.

The Grand Forks County Correctional Center will contract with Guardian RFDI, a Minneapolis-based software company designed to control and keep track of correctional operations, Jail Administrator Bret Burkholder said.

The software can increase accuracy to reduce medication errors and build administration reports, he said. Each inmate would get a bracelet with radio frequency identification (RFID) in it.

The technology, using a chip at every cell, can log wellbeing checks in the system, Burkholder said.

"This will be able to prove, without a question, that we did wellness checks in those tough situations," Burkholder said.

In addition to the $74,000 the county approved for the Guardian software, they also said yes to an annual maintenance contract of just over $10,000 and $5,000 annually for inmates' bracelets.

The Guardian software is a system that would take about four months to install, making it operational at the jail in the spring.

"We've been struggling with the old way of the business. It's very inefficient," Burkholder said. "This is a way to make it more efficient and to make sure there are fewer issues."

Funds for CERT

The commission also approved $5,000 to fund the first round of graduates from the citizen emergency response team (CERT) program.

Grand Forks County Emergency Management began assembling its first team over the summer, and participants will graduate in December. There will be 40 graduates.

The group needed $5,000 to give graduates a backpack with everything they may need in it, Emergency Management Director Kari Goelz said.

"I have been really proud of the candidates, we're getting good candidates," Goelz said.

Commission Chairman Tom Falck proposed the county fund $3,000 for the graduates, but Goelz and Commissioner Diane Knauf opposed that.

"They are the help until the help arrives, and they may see things that they can't unsee," Goelz said when justifying why the program deserved $5,000 for their graduates. "One of the future graduates even got to use the skills he has learned on Election Day."

Member-in-training Daniel Hunnisett helped with a fire Nov. 6 outside the Alerus Center and will graduate in December.