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County to fix PA system at Justice Center
MONROE - The Green County Justice Center has been without a working public address system since its construction in 2010, but the county is working on rectifying that.

John Schuetz, Court Services deputy for the Green County Sheriff, said a PA system was partially installed at the Justice Center but was never completed.

The system has working speakers and wiring but no amplification system and no connection to an intercom system, Schuetz said.Harvey Mandel, who was on the Green County Ad Hoc Justice Center Property Committee when the building was being planned, said a PA system had been included in the building's original plans. However, the committee eventually stripped about $491,000 worth of features from the plans in order to reduce building costs, which likely included the system, Mandel said.

At the time of the cuts, Mandel said, the items eliminated from the project could be included in future renovations.

Mandel said installing the system could also have been disrupted by the construction of the tunnel connecting the Justice Center to the neighboring sheriff's department.

Construction on the Justice Center began in September 2008 and ended one year later with a total cost of about $12.6 million.

The absence of the system was brought up at a security meeting last month in light of a July 11 shooting that took place in a Michigan courthouse. An inmate in St. Joseph, Michigan, attempted to take hostages in the courtroom and fatally shot two deputies before being shot himself.

Without a PA system, it is currently impossible to quickly inform Justice Center staff and visitors of how to respond in case of emergency.

However, Schuetz said, the center is not completely incapable of warning inhabitants. The center's emergency alarm system runs independently of the incomplete PA system and therefore can still issue warnings.

Schuetz said the system's completion is now "in the works," as was decided at the July security meeting. County Clerk Mike Doyle said no estimate of the cost of restoring the system has yet been made.

Doyle said completing the system has not been a pressing issue but could easily be done during future renovations.

"We've gotten by without it," Doyle said.