The Scioto County Commissioners spoke about the newly installed fence at the Scioto County Courthouse during their meeting Tuesday morning and explained why the fence, which some have deemed an eyesore, is necessary to ensure safety.
“I will tell you that the fence is commissioned not by the County Commissioners, but by a security committee in which the county commissioners hold one seat at that committee,” said Commissioner Bryan Davis. “It’s made up of everyone from law enforcement, our sheriff’s office, the common pleas court which oversees the security of the courthouse, our judges, and representatives from every floor of this building. I will tell you that the committee leaned heavy on the law enforcement members of the committee as to what needs to be done, because they live it day in and day out. One of the big concerns as set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States is that out security for many years was not up to par where it should be.”
Davis stated in recent years the commissioners decided to tackle the issue of security, which included many different elements to the project.
“Out of all those things we have waited to do the fence last due to the disruptive nature of the project,” said Davis.
The Commissioners stated that over anything their concerns are in meeting the appropriate safety measures and having the upper hand on a potentially dangerous situation.
“What they’re concerned about and what we’re concerned about is the safety of our judges,” said Davis. “It could happen anywhere; the purpose of the fence is not beautification. We’re not worried about a beautification award, and we’re not worried about people being able to see in. We don’t want people to have an unobscured view of who is coming into the courthouse, Judges and transportation personnel as well.”
Davis stated that despite what some may believe, the Scioto County Jail and inmates from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility are frequent visitors to the Courthouse and many are dangerous people.
“We have violent dangerous individuals who are transported to our courthouse on a daily basis almost, not just from our jail, but from the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility as well. These are dangerous people, and when you have half a dozen at a time come and only so many guards, having a wide-open parking lot is not safe because the situation could turn bad quickly. We’re very fortunate that we have not had that happen, but we have had threats. People need to understand that the individuals that are housed at our jail are not just low-level drug offenders or petty theft. We have cartel members in our jail, we have individuals that are murderers. Unfortunately, a situation could arise where someone tries to break them out, or they escape, and our employees are put at risk. That is what that fence is there for to protect those individuals.”
Commissioners stated that other options were looked into for the fence, but ultimately the fence was constructed by a local contractor and a compromise was reached on using barbed wire at the top of the fence when the committee originally asked for razor wire. “Is it pretty? No, it’s a security fence,” said Davis. “We understand that some people are upset, but we will not compromise the safety of our employees.”
In other matters of business from Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioners accepted communication from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction regarding standards being met at the Scioto County Jail and approved a lease-purchase application for the Probation Department to purchase new vehicles.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932
© 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved