Florida sheriff’s office deploys Morse Watchmans solution

July 28, 2008
KeyWatcher installed at three Monroe County detention facilities

Detention facilities are a highly structured environment so that security, safety and order can be maintained among the populace. Security procedures are clearly defined and include among others, head counts, inmate movements, visitor logs and cell inspections. Among the most closely guarded and stringent policies and procedures however is key control and for this, the Sheriff’s Department in Monroe County, Florida relies on systems from Morse Watchmans.

"Since we installed the KeyWatcher system from Morse Watchmans, we no longer waste time trying to determine who last had a set of keys," said Captain Penny Phelps of the Monroe County, FL, Sheriff's Office. "The system records the access history of each key, including user, date and time of checkout/return, and in general it has helped to strengthen our overall access procedures."

Monroe County is the southernmost county in Florida and the United States. It is made up of the Florida Keys and portions of the Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to providing law enforcement service to the area, is responsible for three detention facilities which are located in Key West, Marathon and Plantation Key. The main facility is located in Key West and has a capacity of 597 beds. There is a 57 bed facility in Marathon and a 46 bed facility in Plantation Key.

The KeyWatcher Key Control System from Morse Watchmans, complete with the fingerprint access control option, was selected by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for installation in all three detention facilities. The KeyWatcher controls access to the keys and tracks keys while they are in use, including times and user names. Staff is assigned various levels of access to the keys to help maintain effective key control and guard against carelessness or oversight.

The accompanying user-friendly PC application software, KeyPro, provides a visible and audible notification of key activity and is easily custom programmable. In addition, the software offers real-time polling transactions, status, alarm and reporting capabilities for the KeyWatcher system. Activity reports can be customized to trace key movements by time, date and user code or biometric access data.

According to Captain Phelps, County policy states that each facility shall have a key control system that includes the absolute control of keys by the staff, key issuance records and a system which ensures that missing keys are immediately identified.

"Using the Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher Key Control System and KeyPro software, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has been able to better comply with established policies and procedures regarding key control and reporting," she said. "The biometric (fingerprint) access function and the 'time release' capability of the key control system have also been extremely beneficial to the operation."

Captain Phelps goes on to say that they first saw the KeyWatcher System in use in nearby Martin County and were so impressed that they immediately contacted Morse Watchmans to arrange for a demonstration in their jurisdiction. "We have had the system in place for a few years now and are absolutely satisfied with how well it has stood up to the 24/7 use."

Featuring illuminated key slots and using minimal wall space, Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher eliminates outdated lock boxes, unreliable manual logs and messy key identification tags. Its stainless steel construction is designed to resist abuse and it is alarm-protected against tampering.

"Because of the nature of the facilities, it is imperative that any systems we might consider be of durable design and rugged construction and the KeyWatcher system is all of that," Captain Phelps added.

For more information, contact Morse Watchmans at 1-800-423-8256, email at [email protected] or visit the website at www.morsewatchmans.com.