County commission considers purchase of “panic buttons”

St. Joseph County officials are expected to approve the lot purchase of a so-called “panic button” for use by county employees under moments of potential distress.

During their executive committee meeting Tuesday, county board members heard a report from Undersheriff Jason Bingaman regarding the proposed purchase.

Bingaman said the computer system supporting panic buttons already in place is aging and unreliable.

New buttons would operate dependably on a reliable, upgraded system, Bingaman said. His request includes the installation of panic buttons in the historic courthouse portion of county offices and in the courts building after its impending rehabilitation. An undetermined number of buttons would also be included in the satellite courts building in Three Rivers. It is set to open next year and will feature the county’s juvenile and family courts.

The courts building portion of the Centreville courthouse complex currently has 20 such buttons in places where a potential threat might warrant immediate response from in-house security and nearby central dispatch.

Cost is $10,500. With grant funds currently in hand, Bingaman said $5,280 is needed to complete the purchase. Commissioners are poised to act on the request during their monthly commission meeting Tuesday next week.

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