Bangor Schools unveil new security badge alert system

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:07 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Bangor schools are preparing for emergency with a first-in-New England solution.

Staff can send out alerts with just three presses of their new security ID badges, or trigger a full lockdown and contact local police and fire with eight presses.

It’s part of a new, $409,000 investment in the new Centegix security badge system.

“Uvalde was a game-changer for me when I saw that, and you think about Sandy Hook as well,” Bangor School Department Superintendent James Tager said. “Parents trust us with their students, that’s the greatest gift that they have.

“Obviously, we have school budgets, but I think the cost to me for peace of mind was worth every cent that we’re paying.”

The badges have already been put to good use. School officials say they’ve sent out four staff alerts - and one was even resolved in just two minutes.

Measures are in place to improve communication and response time during crises.

“Location beacons throughout the schools and their grounds allow us to pinpoint the area of concern, and strobe lights in our classrooms and above all exterior entrances notify community members if a situation has taken place in our schools,” Tager said.

Staff from schools in Georgia explained firsthand how valuable the system can be when put to the test.

“A bus driver had been terminated, she came in with a gun in her purse,” former superintendent of Gilmer County Schools in Georgia Shanna Downs said. “As soon as the transportation director saw the gun, he started pushing his badge. Centegix worked. It locked down, strobes flashed red, intercoms went on in the school. All the students were behind closed doors and safe.”

Students say the greatest benefit is more peace of mind in school halls.

“If anything were to ever happen, our teachers have a direct plan of action,” Bangor High School senior Kaeleigh Bowen said. “We’re just really grateful to have this new security system to keep us safe at school.”

Centegix sales reps say they are discussing these solutions in other schools across Maine.