YORK – “When this courthouse was built, back in the 1980s, it was built without ideas of security, the kind of security we need today,” said Commissioner Jack Sikes as he provided his committee report this week, with the rest of the county board. “The safety and security committee continues to talk about this, as it continues to be an issue.”
A number of years ago, the county asked a representative of Homeland Security to come in and do a security assessment of the courthouse facility. At that point, some improvements were made, including the installation of panic buttons, the use of key cards and the establishment of a security check-point/metal detector in front of the courtroom doors.
When COVID hit, office enclosures (clear windows at the counters) were installed and have since remained as they provide some level of security for workers.
Now, it appears some updates will need to take place when it comes to maintaining panic buttons, according to a report made by Commissioner Daniel Grotz, on behalf of the technology committee.
And Sikes says even more will need to take place.
“We recently met and were informed more secure doors will be installed in some offices, such as at the county attorney’s office,” Sikes said. “Some of the other measures that have been brought up have been thrown under the table for years. And they need to be done. And I’m not talking about $2,000 or $3,000. I’m talking about $2 or $3 million.”
He didn’t elaborate, at this point, as to what those measures are. But suggested security measures brought up in the past have included creating a check-point/metal detector at a main, single entrance to the entire courthouse. That would also require having security officers at that entrance, if it was to be undertaken.
Regarding panic button updates, Grotz said the technology committee’s conversation on this topic was part of the discussion about changing internet providers. The group has been talking about changing providers because of recent outages which shut down phone lines and created obvious problems. He said if internet providers would be changed, updating the panic button system could also be a part of that process. He said the committee will bring forward some recommendations during the commissioners’ next regular meeting.
Also during the commissioners’ committee reports, it was noted about $1 million in ARPA (federal COVID relief funds) remains, with some of it earmarked for small projects. The allocation of the rest of it remains to be seen.