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County offices to get panic buttons
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 Sadly, we live in a time when incidents of violence in workplaces is common. Action taken by the Barton County Commission Monday morning will help make county employees safer.

The commission approved the installation of panic buttons and related software in county offices. After reviewing several packages, Information Technology Director John Debes suggested the purchase of software from ePanic Button.  

Under this system, a discreet click of a mouse, keystroke or optional hardware rapidly sends pre-recorded desktop alerts, SMS text and email messages. The alerts can be customized by level of urgency to assure targeted assistance, including the Sheriff’s Office and 911.  

Sixty users can be equipped with the system for $1,500 per year. “That’s a small price to pay,” Debes said.

“This is the world we live in,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. Technology costs money, but even in a time of budget reductions, security can be worth the price.

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Reappointed Russell Carson, Toni Rice and Richard Ahlvers to the Barton County Planning Commission. The focus of the Planning Commission is to plan for the proper growth and development of Barton County through the enactment of planning and zoning laws for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. Although all applicants must reside in Barton County, the majority of members must be from the unincorporated area, said Environmental Manager  Judy Goreham.

• Approved a bid from Nex-Tech for $26,405 to replace the county’s Exchange server. The county purchased its current Exchange server, used for housing email accounts and archiving, in 2008.

Information Technology Director John Debes researched options related to contracting out the service to a Cloud-based system and replacing the server. In comparing costs, Debes said the county would be less prone to cyber attack and avoid spending more money over time if the current server is replaced.

The Cloud option came with an annual cost per user. Over three years, which is also about the life of a server, the county’s total cost would be $63,000.

Included in the cost is a three-year warranty and assistance with the actual replacement.