Jefferson County implementing monitored exchange place

Jefferson County implementing monitored exchange place

A safe exchange place is now operational in Jefferson County. It's being implemented by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

The idea has been used all over the country. An exchange location for either online purchases, or even child custody, monitored 24/7 by security camera's.

“If you're going to have a transaction, there’s always the potential for a scam, or some type of incident or altercation to occur," says Sgt. Gary Slates with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

With a looming threat like that, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is implementing a 24/7 monitoring program. They say it can be helpful for those meeting in person for an online transaction.

“When somebody’s on the internet, they can be anybody they want to be. They can say who they are, and it turns out when you go to meet for the exchange, they could have something completely different, something completely different in mind. Anything can happen at any time you meet somebody you're not familiar with," says Sgt. Slates.

They also believe it can be helpful for those exchanging custody of a child.

“We've had instances in other parts of the county where people have met to exchange their children, and we've had to respond to problems in the past," says Sgt. Slates.

If you feel uneasy about meeting with someone, for whatever reason, you can call ahead of time as a precaution.

“You can pull in, call the number on the sign. I'm out here. This is who I am. This is what's going on. If somebody's available, can they come out and stand by? Or, can you just pay extra attention to the monitor to make sure nothing's going on?" says Sgt. Slates.

Sgt. Gary Slates is the one who orchestrated the exchange program. While it is monitored 24/7, he suggests coming during daytime hours.

“It's safer. There's more people out. We can see more clearly. It just makes better sense to come during daylight hours," says Sgt. Slates.

The exchange sign is located in the north end of the Justice Center parking lot.

“The best way to come is northbound Rt. 7 along the front of the Justice Center, turn into the north entrance of the parking lot, where the signs direct you. Just inside the north entrance, you'll see a sign on the post that says this is the monitored location," says Sgt. Slates.

For right now that is the only location, but Sgt. Slates says they would entertain the thought of adding additional ones.

“It depends if we have a need. If people express interest, it's something we can get into. It'd have to be monitored, a controlled location. Preferably 24/7," says Sgt. Slates.

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