PARIS — To beef up security and safety at the Oxford County Courthouse, County Administrator Donald Durrah told his department heads at Tuesday commission meeting that wireless panic alarms will soon be installed in several county offices in the building.

The idea came from an employee in the District Attorney’s Office, Durrah said.

To save money, the county will piggyback onto the existing system used by the state in the court section of the building.

The total investment for the emergency alerting system is $1,952. There is no monthly or yearly fee for the system, Durrah said.

Employees will have the option to press the button if they feel threatened. The wireless alarm will send a signal to a security firm that will immediately contact the Oxford County Regional Communications Center, as well as the Paris Police Department and the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office. Marshals who are stationed at the court will also respond to any perceived threat to the county side of the complex, Durrah said.

The commissioners thought it was a great idea.


“I hope everybody feels more secure in their offices,” Commissioner Steven Merrill of Norway said.

In other business, commissioners approved an engineering proposal from Allied Engineering in Portland for the design phase and the construction phase for an improved HVAC system in the Oxford County Jail.

The project’s scope includes “two additional isolating holding cells and a code compliant electrical room.”

The county will accept bids for the project, which will be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Commissioners agreed to extend the vacant Emergency Management Agency deputy director’s hours from 37½ to 40.

Working with a human resource consultant, Durrah will increase training opportunities for his department heads for supervisory skills and personal growth and development.

“We want to be more consistent with our employees,” Durrah said in encouraging his department heads to take advantage of the training.

Oxford County Chief Deputy James Urquhart said the county officers should all be equipped with body cameras by next year. He added that the Chevrolet Tahoes ordered earlier this year will not be available until June of 2023 at the earliest.

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