BATH | Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard greeted the Legislature's Finance Committee on Tuesday by announcing that he is now a certified EMT (emergency medical technician).

Allard’s own certification officially means that every member of the Sheriff’s Office that has tested to become an EMT has passed.

Fifteen other members received certification in August.

Allard has set a goal to have all members of his department certified by 2020, noting that deputies are often the first responders on a scene, before other medical help arrives.

“We can stabilize the patient and keep the patient alive until the ambulance gets there to transport,” he previously told The Leader. “It only makes sense to have the deputies certified EMTs.”

The Sheriff also, with the approval of the Finance Committee, accepted Tuesday state reimbursement for a “red zone” antiterrorism exercise conducted in coordination with Chemung and Schuyler counties.

The exercises involve individuals going to stores anonymously and making purchases of materials that should throw up a red flag -- specifically materials that could be used to make improvised explosives.

The results are then reviewed to improve reporting of suspicious sales.

The reimbursement for Steuben County’s expenses related to the program was approximately $1,800.

Allard also received approval to add the purchase of a “throw phone” to the major equipment items in his budget.

The term “throw phone” raised eyebrows both in the Finance Committee and in Monday’s meeting of the Public Safety and Corrections Committee.

Allard explained the device is used in hostage negotiation situations.

It’s a highly-durable, secure phone that can be thrown through a window or over a long distance to make contact with a subject.

He noted that the device, along with being basically indestructible, also needs to be able to be controlled remotely by law enforcement.

He said the cost of $6,500 for such a device is typical and acceptable in his experience.

County Purchasing Director Andrew Morse noted that some of the bids for “throw phones” were as high as $12,000.

The Finance Committee approved the budget change.

Allard noted he is also in the early stages of creating a county-wide team focused specifically on responding to hostage negotiation situations.