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September 26, 2012
State gives panic buttons to legislators and staff

Lawmakers and others working in the state capitol in Madison now have access to panic buttons. The devices have been installed underneath the desks of legislators, aides, and other officials.

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According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the buttons, which summon help almost immediately, have been installed “liberally.” The desks of some media representatives who work at the state house were also outfitted with the buttons.

Stephanie Marquis of the Department of Administration (DOA) did not supply the exact number of buttons distributed but estimated it into the hundreds. She told the newspaper, “We don’t give out the specific information on panic buttons because of security concerns. The cost of the panic buttons is $103,172, which will be divided between the Senate, Assembly, Supreme Court, and DOA.”

Reportedly, the buttons were introduced with the arrival of a new capitol police chief who has also increased the numbers of citations and arrests of protestors. The Capitol has been the site of protests for more than a year by those who oppose the policies of Governor Scott Walker.

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