Art Lawler Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Pontotoc County Commissioners moved to update courthouse security during Monday’s regular session.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a bid from an Irving, Texas company for a silent warning system designed to alert all courthouse offices, the sheriff’s department and surrounding buildings of a disturbance.
The courthouse has had a system in place for several years but that system is no longer working.
Secure Tech of Irving is taking the old system in as a trade, giving the county a $2,067 discount.
The new system will cost $11,964.70, and according to Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian should be up and running in a few weeks. Before that can happen, new signage must be completed and put up around the courthouse area.
To date, Pontotoc County Courthouse hasn’t had any major emergencies, but incidents that have prompted deputies to rush in to subdue irate, hostile or upset people remain a threat.
The new warning system will require office personnel to push a silent button to obtain emergency help.
The system may also be hooked up to certain telephones, allowing law enforcement to communicate with employees without anyone having to run from the third floor to the first floor, for example.
The phone calls would be secondary to the silent warning that law enforcement receives.
The system, for the most part, will allow law enforcement into the building on the correct floor early in a confrontation, in hopes of keeping the situation from escalating, Christian said.
Should law enforcement be unable to quell an emergency before it gets out of hand, Christian told commissioners he would like to see a system that would automatically lock all doors.
The sheriff said the county is still working out details to put an airport-style security gate at one entrance while also making other entrances inaccessible, except in case of fire.
Secure Tech was the only company to submit a bid.