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County considers security system armed with panic button

Security at county offices was the subject of a Centurion Security System demonstration on Sept. 21 at the Wadena County Courthouse. The county is considering purchasing the system to increase the portable alarm system security at the courthouse as well as at the public health and social services departments.

Local law enforcement personnel, the county attorney, Judge Jay D. Carlson, Emergency Manager Scott McKellep, commissioners and other county officials attended the demonstration held during the county board meeting.

McKellep is pleased with the testing and what he has seen of the system so far, he said.

"From the testing part of it, it seems like a good system," McKellep said. "It looks like just what we would need."

The system includes a panic button that relays an emergency message to a two-way radio, said Brent Jones, StopTech Ltd., sales representative. The message is instantaneous and indicates the location of the emergency. It works on the same frequency that the sheriff's department already uses, he said. The message can also be relayed to other systems including land line telephones.

If the department chooses, Jones said the alarm can override normal conversations on the radios.

McKellep said they tested the system in the courthouse, social services and public health and will need to set up several different scenarios in order to get bids from the company.

One scenario is to purchase two systems, one each for the courthouse and social services, he said.

A second scenario involves purchasing two systems and two repeaters, McKellep said. One system would be placed in the courthouse and the other system would be placed in social services. Two repeaters would need to be purchased so that the system would cover public health, he said. The repeaters relay the signal from the buttons to the central alarm extending the range of the base unit. The public health building is located one block away from the courthouse on Dayton Avenue Southeast. Social services is located near downtown Wadena on First Street Southeast.

Another system would involve purchasing three separate systems for the courthouse, public health and social services, he said. This scenario is the least likely, he said.

A fourth option is to buy one system and numerous repeaters so that all three buildings can be covered, McKellep said.

The cost of the alarm unit is $5,250 and the cost for a repeater is $550, he said. McKellep estimated the cost at $6,000 to $7,000 per system depending on the number of repeaters and buttons used.

McKellep will submit his scenarios to StopTech and get quotes so that he can make a recommendation to the county board, he said.