August 28, 2012
PDT Staff Writer
Between the months of October of 2011 and July of 2012, 1,203 items were stopped going through security at the Portsmouth City Building.
According to head of security for Portsmouth Municipal Court, Mark Malone, security stopped 1,139 knives, 47 containers of mace, and 17 other items ranging from four guns to eight tasers, two bullets and more. Now City Council will bring forward an ordinance to purchase a new X-Ray unit at a price of $27,000 to replace a unit that has broken and can’t be fixed.
“I know that you are bombarded with requests and money is tight,” Portsmouth Municipal Court Judge Steven Mowery said. “We now have though during the day in this building a security system that we incorporated into this building without cost to the city. All of the equipment that was provided was provided by the (Ohio) Supreme Court and by grants with the exception of the personnel.”
Mowery said there is an immediate need to replace the broken machine.
“The X-Ray machine for security in the lobby is now broken. We originally had two machines, and we tried to take from one to repair the other,” Mowery said. “And we haven’t been able to do that. So we obtained an estimate for the X-Ray machine of $27,000. We are requesting that that be approved through the CIP (Capital Improvement). I know there is controversy in securing this building, and I know that has come up in the past on occasion, but we have fought that battle and it (security equipment) is here. And because we don’t have the X-Ray machine I do believe it is an emergency situation that needs an immediate remedy to get it secured again, rather than to have person’s purses and bags and everything else gone through, which takes more time.”
Mowery said if Council can’t approve the appropriation now, he would like for them to consider it part this year and part next year.
“It is something that needs to be done,” Mowery said. “I am proud that we are a secure court. We have a lot of people come through here every day that are very volatile. They’re charged with rape and murder and everything on the spectrum as far as every thing you might believe my incite people to violence.”
Third Ward Councilman Nick Basham asked if it could be financed with court funds,but Mowery and other members of City Council were quick to add that the security is not only needed for the courts but for all offices including the mayor’s office.
Council voted and chose alternative number one to authorize legislation be brought forward at an upcoming City Council meeting.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org