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Moore County upgrades security

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Dumas, TX -- Moore County is beefing up security in all of its schools and county buildings ... with software.

The Moore County Sheriff's Office has been using a system called "COPsync" for almost five years, and now the system will expand into their schools.  And they tell doing so will help keep our schools and our communities safe.

COPsync is a communications system currently in use by sixty percent of Texas county sheriff's offices.  It's usually installed in police cars so multiple agencies and departments can pool their information automatically. 

Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades says anything that opens more lines of communication between agencies will only help, saying, "Law enforcement's real good about helping each other regardless of whether you're sheriff, city, DPS, another county - everybody helps everybody."

The county commission recently approved $40,000 to Install the system in all of its county buildings to enhance security, and COPsync offered to install it in the counties schools at no cost. 

In buildings, it acts as an emergency alert system, sending police additional information like floor plans and the signal's exact location.  Public schools already have emergency alarm systems, but COPsync also alerts all other teachers and staff and nearby law enforcement vehicles, as Moore County Sheriff J.E. "Bo" DeArmond says, "Any problems - you know - a suspicious person in the school - they can hit that button, and it automatically alerts the five closest units."

And recent shootings in the public eye have county officials thinking about safety within their own buildings.

"This is just a proactive way to maybe address some of that," says Judge Rhoades.  "We do have courthouse security; we have other things in place, but you can't be everywhere."

Sheriff DeArmond says he's also used COPsync to guide firefighters in rough terrain, like the recent grass fire near the Canadian River.

The Dumas Police are expected to be using the system in the next couple of months, and it should be up and running in schools before the next school year starts.

Potter and Randall Counties each use their own police communications systems.

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