Effingham County Hero Combines Technology and Trust to Run Efficient Jail

NOVEMBER 23, 2015 EFFINGHAM, GA – Telmate’s November Hero of the Month, Captain Brian Barrs, not only runs a technologically tight ship while successfully managing the new, one-year-old Effingham County, Georgia jail, he also relies on an atmosphere of trust to get things done.

With forty-four employees working under him, the 28-year law enforcement veteran and jail administrator says the most important thing about supervising others is taking care of each and every one individually, “not as a number but as a person.” He’d like his legacy to be that he was fair and square with all people.

Devoted to the jail and his law enforcement career, Captain Barrs also puts a lot of trust in the jail’s technology provider and partner, Telmate, to continually find new ways for inmates and facility staff to benefit, at the same time providing security and control over the facility and protecting the local community. As he proudly pointed out: “We were able to get this system in our new facility at no cost to the taxpayers of the county, not one dime.”

According to Barrs, the staff has had good luck with all the Telmate product offerings that have been part of the jail since 2012. Effingham utilizes the entire Telmate solution, including Telmate Phones, Telmate Video Visits, Telmate Investigator Tools, and most recently, Telmate Tablets, which have turned out to be an effective behavior modification tool. “If we’re having trouble with a particular inmate, we can suspend his tablet privileges, and that seems to work pretty good,” said Barrs.

The jail administrator added that Telmate products like video visitation not only free up a tremendous amount of manpower because it practically runs itself, but also makes the facility safer because there is no need for walking inmates from one place to another. In the past that’s resulted in fights between rivals passing by one another. “Any time you have less inmate movement, it’s a more secure facility,” he said.

And Telmate Investigator, the system’s embedded crime-fighting tools, have helped the facility gain more security and control by providing enormous amounts of intelligence the jail normally wouldn’t have. By monitoring phone calls, not only has Effingham thwarted contraband being snuck into the jail, but provided video and phone records of murder suspects to detectives in another state.

In his spare time, Barr is an avid beekeeper who tends 8 hives. “If I apply the beekeeping skills I’ve learned dealing with employees and inmates, I’ve learned you can’t force anybody to do anything. If I try to push my employees and run a dictatorship, they push back. My job is to help them be successful at their job.”

Every month, Telmate receives nominations in recognition of heroes just like Barrs, who use the company’s technology, day in and day out. Telmate recognizes these heroes by selecting and honoring one Hero of the Month for their dedication and leadership.

For more information about the Heroes program or to nominate your own hero, please visit www.telmate.com/heroes.