The Scioto County Commissioners met for the first time this week on Thursday to take action on a 12-item agenda. An item of discussion after the agenda was an update on efforts to enhance courthouse security and the cost.
The commissioners have been working on a plan to enhance security in and around the Scioto County Courthouse. The cost to make the enhancements currently sits at around $200,000.
Items the commissioners hope to implement around the courthouse and annex include security cameras, hiring of two sheriff deputies to patrol the courthouse, upgrading the internal panic button system and the possibility of installing metal detectors.
Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Bryan Davis said he recently approved an expenditure of $6,800 to enhance the security camera system in and around the Scioto County Courthouse. Davis said he’s meeting with the same company in the coming days to discuss enhancing the security system in the courthouse annex but was uncertain on cost.
He said enhancing the camera system is only one part of the county’s overall enhancement plan.
“Cameras have been approved for external (outside of the courthouse), a couple for the inside around some problem areas we need to address. Those (security cameras) will be monitored and recorded,” Davis said.
Other aspects of the plan includes hiring two sheriff deputies to patrol the courthouse and the annex. Davis said he’s been working with Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini on what the requirements of that would be.
Davis said he had asked Donini for an estimate on hiring the deputies to patrol the courthouse, that estimate came in at around $165,000 a year.
“It would cost around $165,000 for two armed deputies (traveling) between the courthouse and the annex during business hours,” Davis said.
He said the commissioners and their staff are working on grants to help defer the total cost.
“We’re hoping to play off the experience of our judges, they do a lot of grant writing and getting grants for what they’ve done upstairs. We’re looking to play off of that some and to do even more,” Davis said.
He said the county has already taken steps towards improving the internal security of the courthouse and those that work inside it. Davis declined to offer details of those improvements for security reasons.
Some of the other improvements the commissioners are seeking funding for includes upgrading the panic button system that’s in place throughout the courthouse.
Davis said the installation of metal detectors is something that’s being looked into, in terms of cost and how could they be implemented.
“Some of the concerns we (commissioners) and others have, regarding the flow of traffic (if metal detectors are installed). What do we do during voting, especially within courthouse voting, last time we had lines of people waiting to vote,” Davis said.
He said the commissioners are intending to engage with other counties on how they implemented metal detectors.
“There’s going to be a certain amount of inconvenience, do we like that, no. This is the society we live in and it’s not right, but we’ve had a certain amount of threats made and we need to address those,” Davis said.
He said it’s going to take time to get things in place, to enhance security in the courthouse. “If we could go faster, we would,” Davis said.
Davis said there was no timeline established when various aspects of the plan would be implemented.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933