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BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS

Correspondent

GILMER–The Upshur County Commissioners Court on Monday authorized Etex Telephone to solicit private donations to help finance a system which could alert courthouse employees in the event that an active shooter is present somewhere in the five-story building.

Charlie Cano, Etex’s chief executive officer/general manager, said a system known as “Copsync” could silently alarm the five law enforcement units nearest the scene of such an incident.  He also said he had discussed the idea with Sheriff Larry Webb and Gilmer Police Chief Mark Case (who were both present), and that he had found considerable interest from “a handful of businesses” in helping finance the project’s initial cost.

Cano noted the city council had already approved his soliciting funds for Copsync, but that he would do “due diligence” to bring competitive bids from other alarm firms.

Former Robertson County Judge Jan Roe, vice-president of government relations for the New Braunfels-based Copsync, Inc., said the firm would reduce the county’s cost to $99 monthly per officer to $29 if Cano can raise community support.

“Your courthouse is protected by this,” she told commissioners. “It sends a message to everybody in the building” via their devices, Roe added, noting that many injuries in school shootings are caused by persons walking into the area involved in the shooting because they did not know it was occurring.