Security for probation building on county agenda

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners will consider today the purchase and installation of a wireless personnel security system for the Probation Department.

The Probation Department’s 2013 budget includes $3,000 for the purchase of a security system.

ECS Electrical & Communication Specialists, Inc., Mankato, provided a $3,042.75 bid for the project. Funds come from supervision fees.

The security system has a wireless panic button that can be used throughout the department. When the button is triggered, an announcement can be made over the department intercom indicating assistance is needed. Brown County Sheriff’s Office dispatch may be alerted by phone message indicating there is an emergency and immediate assistance is needed at the building.

A security system was requested due to an increasing number of calls to law enforcement for assistance with potentially dangerous offenders in probation offices.

Safety issues arise because probation officers are alleging felony level offenders are violating pre-trial release conditions and facing possible prison sentences. Agents deal with a variety of people with mental health issues, anger, and under the influence of mood altering chemicals.

Bids were requested from three companies including New Ulm Telecom, which referred Probation to a specialized alarm company. Another alarm company toured the Probation building to provide a quote and declined further correspondence. Two more alarm companies did not respond to bid requests.

Commissioners will also consider:

Adding a part-time child protection/children’s mental health position.

Ordering a new tandem snowplow truck from the state bid. The Highway Department recommends an International cab and chassis and Towmaster equipment at $186,983. A $34,000 trade-in allowance is for a 2003 Sterling tandem truck.

Accepting a $10,000 grant Minnesota Local Road Research Board Local Operational Research Assistance Program, administered by the University of Minnesota agreement to fund a study of the CSAH 3 project.

CSAH 3 from the south county line to CSAH 23 was cold-in-place recycled in June. Surface distresses appeared after the recycle train began working. Adjustments in recycle depth were made to try to prevent more surface problems, but it did not eliminate all problems.

It appeared the sub grade in the south four miles was wet with soft spots showing up. Recycled material needs a hard surface to compact against to get density. The two different surfacing options create a good location for a comparison study.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. today in the courthouse commissioners room.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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