Today, the sheriff's office announced plans to roll out a new video visitation system in order to increase efficiency and reduce on-site visits.

After a three day hiatus from in-person visitation for the installation of the new system from March 5 to March 7, remote visitation will begin and in-person visits will resume on March 8.

A web portal, facilitated by GTL Solutions, allows for free on-site video visits of 20 minutes and remote visits of 10 or 25 minutes costing $4 for 10 minutes and $10 for 25 minutes.

Sheriff Barry Richard said that while remote video-visitation bears a small cost, it pales in comparison to the cost of travel to Tippecanoe County that visitors from out of town may incur.

“The concept is a good one, a time-saver, and a convenience,” Richard said.

Department Captain Langman commented on the increase in overall efficiency and safety the new program would bring to the lobby of the Sheriff's Office.

“They’re not going to be waiting in our lobby for an unknown time to visit, they’ll already have their schedule," Langman said. “Any time we can limit the amount of people coming in and out of the building, we have a better chance of having a secure building.”

As for the security of the calls, calls will be monitored in real-time, and also recorded so that they can be reviewed at a later date, if need be. Both parties will be notified of the of the recording at the beginning of each video visit. However, calls with attorneys will remain unrecorded in order to uphold attorney-client privilege.

In order to roll out the new program, remote and on-site visits will be free for the first week, and remote visit fees will begin after the trial-period.

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