Panic alarms installed in Crittenden County courts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Panic alarms installed in Crittenden County courts

"Panic alarm has been activated in circuit court one!"

That urgent voice will echo over law enforcement radios if something ever happens in a courtroom inside the Crittenden County Courthouse. Judges there now have more power in emergency situations.

"Well, I had some concern--more for the court personnel than for myself," says Circuit Court Judge Victor Hill.

Concerns of Judge Hill and others helped lead to the installation of new panic alarms.

"If I felt one of the court personnel, reporters, one of the jurors was under immediate threat, I would press it," says Hill.

Pressing it would begin a chain reaction meant to speed up response time. One of the sophisticated features of this silent alarm system is that the signal is sent directly to police radios, bypassing the dispatcher.

"As a matter of fact, it notifies dispatch at the same time--they'll hear it over the radio just like all the units in the car will," says Crittenden Co. Sheriff's Department PIO Thomas Martin.

Each alarm has its own unique pre-recorded message.

"It won't just say at the Crittenden County Courthouse--it will actually tell you where the problem is," says Martin.

It's added piece of mind judges hope they never need to use.

Installation of four new alarms cost Crittenden County nearly $6000. The good news is they were purchased with federal grant money.

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