Clay County Approves Purchase of "Panic Button"


Members of the Clay County Quorum Court approved the purchase of a "Panic Button" system for  J.P. French, of RAVE Mobile Safety, speaks with members of the Clay County Quorum Court during Monday night's meeting at Piggott. The justices also gave their approval to create a new position within the sheriff's department, passed a resolution of support for a grant application for the CCSD and approved the county's flood damage prevention program. Changes in the personnel policy concerning sick days were also discussed, and given the green light.

With eight of the nine JPs in attendance the meeting was called to order at the courthouse in Piggott by Judge Gary Howell. Absent from the gathering was Justice Jody Henderson.

After dispensing with the usual consent agenda items, the court heard from J.P. French, director of strategic accounts for the state of Arkansas with the RAVE Mobile Safety Company.

French explained the workings of the RAVE Panic Button system, which uses smart phone apps to notify authorities in the event of an emergency.

He noted each entity, such as the courthouse, would have a "geo-fence" which would define the area covered. This would allow first responders to immediately see the location of the person initiating the call, and react accordingly.

The system was recently put into use by the school districts in the county, and staff at Piggott Schools hosted a training on the program on Monday.

(Photo) J.P. French, of RAVE Mobile Safety, speaks with members of the Clay County Quorum Court during Monday night's meeting at Piggott. (TD photo/Tim Blair)

The program is designed for schools, public buildings and businesses alike. It allows for the panic call to be forwarded immediately to 911 dispatch, and allows the notification of other staff members of the issue. Localized alerts are also offered, allowing rapid intervention in the event of a non-911 emergency.

French noted over 485,000 students are protected under the program in Arkansas, involving 252 districts. It's estimated over 38,000 people use the system each day, and over 4,000 private businesses and buildings are also covered.

The proposal for Clay County called for an annual fee of $3,000, which would allow up to 100 users on the system. French noted additional ones could also be added at a cost of $10 each, per year.

Following a lengthy discussion on the merits of the program, the JPs voted to enter into a one year contract with the firm for the service. They noted the cost could be shared between County General and County Road, since the service would also be used by their personnel.

The court also approved Ordinance 2016-14-Code 1300, which approves and establishes the flood damage prevention program for Clay County. The measure was placed on all three readings, title only, and approved along with the accompanying emergency clause on a vote of 8-0.

Court members also approved Resolution 2016-03, which authorizes Sheriff Terry Miller to apply for a GIF grant of $94,883.93. If approved, the grant would be used to upgrade the county's fleet of patrol vehicles.

Miller also reported to the court he was informing the cities of Piggott, Rector and Corning of an increase in the fee for housing prisoners in the detention center. Miller presented the JPs with a copy of the letter sent to the municipalities, which outlines an increase to $30 per day beginning Jan. 1.

By Tim Blair, Times-Democrat News Staff

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