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Panic buttons and video surveillance will soon be part of county government life, following a decision last week by La Salle commissioners to furnish employees with alert devices and install cameras at the elections office.
Presentations on Thursday, November 30, by the county’s technology department representative, Ricardo DeHoyos, gave elected officials an overview of the security measures that will be added to the county offices.
Panic buttons will make immediate contact between a government office and the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and will trigger a response in the event of a threat, according to DeHoyos, who said employees may wear the buttons on lanyards or attach them to their desks or work stations.
A total of 24 devices have been ordered from Team Alert, as per DeHoyos’ recommendation, and will be supplied to offices in which staff deal directly with the public or who work in spaces accessible to the public. Those offices include all justices of the peace, the county tax collection office, the Elderly Nutrition Center, the county elections office in downtown Cotulla, and county government facilities in Encinal.
The start-up fee and the equipment will cost the county $3,800, after which a monthly $180 fee will be charged for continued service.
DeHoyos also described the video camera equipment that he recommended for installation at the elections office, noting that it will only cover the staff and public areas and not the voting booths or “the elections process.”
South Texas Security Systems has been contracted for the purchase and installation at 117 North Front Street, the former Cotulla City Hall that was leased by the county government this year and remodeled to accommodate all elections activities and voter records. The fee quoted at the commissioners’ meeting on Nov. 30 was $6,900 for the equipment and installation. Six cameras and recording devices will give 30-day playback capability.