Courthouse security on track

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Scioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis said one of the options being considered as a part of the new security plan at the Scioto County Courthouse, is the use of constables.

“They would be employed by the judiciary, the courts instead of using sheriff’s deputies,” Davis said. “They would still have the training.”

Davis said eight cameras are being installed at the courthouse.

“All four corners, parking lots, fourth floor, just kind of running amok up there, so we want to control that,” Davis said. “They’re here today (Tuesday) again and most of the wiring has been pulled so they should be starting. They’re recording 24/7.”

The need for additional security came up when office holders began to receive what has been considered credible threats and as it stands now the only security is just outside Scioto County Common Plea courtrooms.

“They’re going to look at all potential gaps and they’re going to be installing one sweeping camera on the front of the annex,” Davis said. “Everything else is covered through the Veterans Service Commission. Their camera system covers everything in the building already.”

The Scioto County Courthouse annex is located in the same building at the Veterans Service Commission directly across the street from the actual courthouse.

“The other thing we’re going to get a quote on is magnetic door locks for all the offices in the annex,” Davis said. “It would slow people down and it gives people a chance to get out.”

Davis was asked about the presence of panic buttons in the courthouse.

“They do, but again, that’s reacting,” Davis said. “We have a good panic button system here in the courthouse, but again, we’re trying to get proactive not reactive. Your event is already unfolding at that point. You can try to slow someone down, that’s what you want to do.”

Davis said the commissioners were scheduled to meet with Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini Monday afternoon to discuss several aspects of the security plan, but also to discuss jail overcrowding. The Scioto County Jail is habitually holding more inmates than it is designed to hold, and, with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction considering sending felony 5 state inmates back to county jails, that would cause even greater overcrowding. Currently 69 felony 5 inmates are in state prisons.

“Its all about cost at this point to try to figure out what’s the most cost effective way to do this,” Davis said. ‘We’re going to have that conversation with Marty today.”

“The judges have been very cooperative,” Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree said.

Davis said everyone involved is on the same page.

“Everybody understands that its a very tough situation that we’re in,” Davis said. “Nobody is saying it’s going to get easier or better either. We have to plan for the worst case scenario.”

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.