STANFORD — The Lincoln County Jail has a new backup generator that will help it keep things running whenever the power goes out.
Jailer David Gooch said the new diesel-powered generator puts out 50 kilowatts — more than double the old gasoline-powered generator's 20-kilowatt load.
That extra power means when the power goes out, the jail can keep its ventilation and computer systems running, along with emergency lighting, Gooch said.
In May, Gooch told the Lincoln County Fiscal Court that the jail "lucked out" when the old generator started for an inspection and that it couldn't provide enough power to keep all the essential systems running.
Gooch said the new generator should last for decades, and will definitely last for the life of the current jail facility.
"It's going to be able to generate much more power and it's going to be able to stay on much longer," he said.
Gooch said the jail experiences power outages much like any house does — a couple times a year it may lose power for a few minutes or a couple hours, and on rarer occasions power may be knocked out for a day or longer.
Having a backup generator in place is especially important at the jail because the facility's locked-down situation means heating, ventilation and air condition is essential, Gooch said.
"You can't just open a window," he said. "It's not just a matter of giving the prisoners air conditioning."
Computer systems at the jail like the victim notification system and fingerprint databases are important to keep running 24/7 as well, he added.
Judge-Executive Jim Adams said the new generator cost $17,400. Other options were considered, including natural gas and propane generators, but both would have been very expensive to move if the jail ever relocated. The diesel generator is very portable, he said.
Adams said the old generator wasn't worth anything and was scrapped by the county.
Gooch said he's very thankful to Adams and the Lincoln Road Department for helping make the new generator a reality. The Road Department hauled off the old generator and installed the new one, which saved the jail a lot of money, he said.