By Timothy Chipp
The Niagara Town Board approved spending more than $16,000 to upgrade security at multiple facilities, according to the town’s interim police chief.
Craig Guiliani said the town will contract with Doyle Security Systems in Cheektowaga to install both panic buttons for people working in town offices and new security cameras to replace an old system.
“The cameras that were there were not operable,” Guiliani said, adding the cameras will be installed in multiple places in Town Hall, as well as outside the Highway Department’s new storage shed, the senior center and in the town’s newly renovated park with its bocce courts and miniature golf course.
Guiliani said the town received three total bids for the project, with the winning bid being the most comprehensive of the three, fulfilling the number of projects the town wanted to complete.
Retired Police Chief James Suitor was exploring making security upgrades at a number of the same town facilities, focused primarily on buzzers to prevent immediate public access, before he left the town in August.
At the time, Suitor said an “irate and intoxicated man” entered Town Hall and caused an issue with many of the clerks who work in the offices. Town officials have been looking into the security issue since and settled on the panic buttons, Guiliani said.
“We ran into an issue where we wondered can you actually lock down a public building,” Guiliani said. “Just because you have a camera at the door doesn't mean they're not hiding a gun in their jacket. We try to have an officer in the building as much as possible.
“This gives the clerks inside (these offices) a sense of security that they didn't have before if an officer is not in the building.”
Many of the department offices will be fitted with the panic buttons, including the supervisor’s office, the court clerks, the Building Department and the town clerk, Guiliani said.
In addition to the personal safety upgrade coming, the purchase will also include upgrades to the fire alert system in Town Hall, Guiliani said. Fire alarms will be replaced, while the electronics board running the system will also be upgraded.
Guiliani said the town hasn’t had any issues yet, but the system is old and they didn’t want to press their luck further.
The total cost of the upgrades is $16,355, Guiliani said.
Niagara officials will next meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Town Hall, 7105 Lockport Road.