Technology: Courtroom Security via Emergency Notification System

Partner: Tri-County Communications

Introduction

It did not take long for the City of Mission Police Department and the City of Mission Courthouse in South Texas to appreciate the value of their recently acquired panic and duress system. Courtroom security was tested within five days of installing the emergency notification system, enabling courtroom officials and law enforcement to apprehend an inmate who escaped a courtroom quickly.

Escape Attempt

Unknown to the escaped inmate, all those emergency alerts were launched prior to his even exiting the judge’s chambers.

One May morning, before the court was in session, an inmate who was handcuffed and seated in the courtroom determined to escape. He bolted past the recorder’s bench, rushed out the rear courtroom exit into the hallway, and entered an occupied judge’s chamber. The judge reflexively activated his Centurion Elite panic button. Moreover, within two seconds, that button press generated multiple emergency alerts to several receivers:

Emergency Alerts for Improved Courtroom Security

  • Nearby police radios were notified
  • Computer screens alerted staff to the emergency
  • A strobe light began flashing in the clerk’s office
  • As designed, an emergency door separating the courts for such emergencies was unlocked.

Unknown to the escaping inmate, all emergency alerts were launched before he exited the judge’s chambers, all because of advanced Courtroom Security. After fleeing the judge’s chamber, the inmate went and made a way to the clerk’s office, where staff had also triggered their panic buttons, but the police were already on their way. The inmate then exited the clerk’s office and escaped the building, where he persisted on foot.

Police Response

Equally Important is the necessary technology. Authorities had already been notified by the first panic button transmitted to police radio from the courtroom, and police had already tightened the security in the area. The police were alerted within 2 seconds of that first panic button press. A detective near the courthouse heard the duress message, spotted the inmate, and began to pursue him on foot. Also, an alerted officer in a nearby patrol car joined the chase, and law enforcement quickly captured the inmate. The inmate didn’t stand a chance with the immediate presence of mind of the judge and courthouse staff.

The Centurion Elite® Panic System

The system the City installed, which has been engineered for these courtroom security emergency events, is The Centurion Elite® Panic System. It enabled the courthouse officials and staff to alert law enforcement immediately, direct to police radio without a phone call or dispatch, which resulted in the above outcome. Because the inmate had the reckless boldness to dart from a courtroom. In addition, it is scary to think what violence could have occurred had authorities not arrived so quickly. The Centurion Elite® system gave the authorities the upper hand.

Robert Dominguez, Mission PD Chief of Police stated, “Obviously we wanted an alarm system that would provide us with unique and personalized capabilities to meet specific requirements for our building complex. After much research we elected to purchase the Response Technologies Centurion Elite® emergency response system. It immediately demonstrated that it enabled us to lock and unlock specific doors, initiate visual-only alerts, and provide a ‘dispatched’ call over the radio, specific to the type and location of the alarm.

In retrospect, [given our history of] never having incidents like this occur in the past, it is so ironic that it was put to actual use only days after the Response Technologies’ system was installed.”

Response Technologies: We were pleased that the City made the right decision by putting the lives of public officials and public safety personnel first.

Key Take-Aways:

Designed

Police could quickly engage this convict because of a pre-programmed, location-based duress system message. Eventually, that immediately called them into action, and alerts and triggers within the courthouse unlocked/locked exits and warned staff.

Dependable

The Centurion Elite® is a platform ready to alert, inform and react. It intelligently self-monitors and alerts administrators to any problems, including missing panic buttons or low batteries. Moreover, all while remaining functional in the case of a power outage by using backup power supplies.

Distinctive

Eventually, Response Technologies and its partnering teams always listen to the needs of our customers to help develop the best possible communication and emergency response plan. Centurion Elite® is precisely engineered, purpose-built, and end-to-end solution that immediately notifies first responders. Although, We help you choose the ideal sensor and button placement and craft customized outgoing alert messages. Furthermore, Centurion Elite® is adaptable and designed to accommodate your unique needs and can integrate with many adjacent systems.

“We will never be able to predict an emergency, but our wireless platform will be ready when the need arises, as the above account shows. In the case of this end user, it proved its worth just a few days after installation. Thanks to collaborative teamwork, the City of Mission was prepared for this emergency and will be for any forthcoming” said Matt Volkerding, VP of Sales, Response Technologies.

Lastly, visit us at Response-Technologies to learn more about Centurion Elite® and our other turnkey solutions or request an online demonstration.

Besides, contact us at  1.800.537.0102 or at KCorson@Response-Technologies.com

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