Diversion Center Receives Funding

The Southeast Alabama Youth Services Diversion Center in Dothan will be increasing its security system. The center is getting nearly $66,000 from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division. Currently, the center has 24 cameras. The new money will make it possible to buy eight more cameras and to provide night vision capabilities. The new system will be similar to the one at the Dothan Regional Airport.

Executive Director Gerald Love, says “We have not had any new or updated equipment in the last 25 years and in this 25 years, over 25,000 kids have spent time here. The last 1,000 kids that came through here, our records show that 331 of them were arrested for murder, rape, or robbery and these are kids 17 and under.” Each year the Diversion Center takes in about 1,000 juveniles, some as young as 8-years-old. The center serves an eight county area and has been around for 33 years.

According to Information Technology Manager Nancy Powell, “Currently we are not able to see everything at once, it only records one image at the time from one location. Now we will be able to record all at the same time. The cameras will be digitally based cameras. Right now we have a VHS based system. It’s been adequate over the years, but with the increase in concern about security, not only for the staff but for the children, we felt we needed night vision at this point." The new cameras will be able to zoom up to a quarter of a mile distance and the system can record all 32 cameras at the same time.

The center hopes to have the new security system up and running no later than December. The center can hold 50 children at a time and has a staff of 45. The diversion center applied for the grants in July. The Dale County Commission assisted with getting the money.