Juveniles moved out of detention center to test new electronic system

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Fifty-four kids from the Juvenile detention center took a ride downtown this afternoon, but this was no joy ride. The group was moved to another detention area in 201 Poplar while a new alarm system was installed. The move Tuesday comes in light of a battle over who should be providing security at the detention center, the monitors they are already using or the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. One by one the detainees left their cells and boarded buses. It only took sheriff deputies and detention monitors a few minutes to load them, but it is a process that was weeks in the making. The Juvenile Detention Center recently got a new alarm system. "What it will do is improve our fire alarm capacity, communication. Everything is now computerized, a computerized system," CAO Larry Scroggs explained. To test the new system the kids had to be moved, because it involves automatically opening and closing cell doors. Parents like Steven Olden said they are glad juvenile court is doing planning ahead for emergencies and doing what they can to keep the kids safe. "Hit a button and the doors will open, and everybody will be able to get out freely without hurting one another," said Olden. Scroggs said they had to plan to keep the detainees safe from each other as well. "We have all the major gangs represented. That's a daily challenge to make sure we have control over small groups to reduce gang tension," said Scroggs. The kids were taken to a separate detention area at 201 Poplar, apart from the adult offenders while the new alarm system was tested. Parents said they are impressed with how the transport was handled and grateful safety is a priority. "As soon as somebody gets hurt in the old system, then everybody would be saying, 'Well, how come we didn't do anything?' So, this is a good, positive move," Kenneth Barnes said. The test process took about four hours. After that, the detainees were brought back.  

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