County’s booking station ready

BELLEFONTE — Centre County’s central booking station is slated to open in the county jail a week from today, streamlining the handling of criminal suspects.

County Administrator Tim Boyde said renovation work has been done and state police have checked the station’s security.

“It has all the clearances. We’re ready to move forward,” Boyde said Thursday before the Board of Commissioners meeting.

Police from across the county will take suspects to the central station for paperwork, fingerprinting and photographing. Equipment is already set up so that suspects can be arraigned by video rather than having to be driven to a district judge’s office.

County officials say this will allow police officers to return more quickly to their patrol area, relieving them of the need to guard and transport prisoners. It also will ensure that all steps of booking are completed properly and more efficiently, county and police officials said.

Gene Lauri, county director of criminal justice planning, said the county will move fingerprinting and other equipment from Penn State’s station Thursday, with an expected opening of the new center May 23.

The station is expected to cost $186,000 to run its first year, much of which is being covered by a booking fee. That fee is currently $100 and will increase to $175 on May 23. It is assessed at the time of sentencing.

Lauri said the station will also offer fingerprinting services for $20 to people who need it for job or security clearances.

Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648.

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