• Last modified 654 days ago (Aug. 28, 2019)


Commissioners discuss various security measures

Staff writer

The county’s courthouse will get a security upgrade, but what it will look like is anyone’s guess.

The district court requested security upgrades months ago, and commissioners decided to table the subject for further discussion.

Commission chairman Kent Becker said he believes security upgrades would be good for both the courtroom floor and the courthouse as a whole.

“It appears to me we need to have one just because of the world we’re living in,” Becker said. “I hate to say it, but those guys are sitting ducks.”

District judge Michael Powers and sheriff Rob Craft joined the discussion.

Powers said some cases are more dangerous than others. Parents having children removed from the home, and contentious divorce cases are a couple of examples, he said.

Craft said the sheriff’s department could hire someone and have them trained as a court bailiff, but that would take six months.

Private security option

Becker asked about hiring a private security company, and Craft said that could be done.

“I think whatever we do, we need to get serious about it,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.

Becker suggested tightening access to all doors of the courthouse.

Craft said if all but one door is locked, that leaves nobody monitoring that door.

Novak asked Powers what he thought about having someone on duty to monitor the unlocked door. Powers said he thought that was the best solution discussed so far.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said having one door monitored meant two employees would be needed because of lunch and employee breaks.

“It’s going to be expensive no matter what you do,” Dallke said.

“If you put a person full-time in this building, I think they would die of boredom at some time,” Powers said.

Bailiff option

Becker asked Craft if a bailiff would work.

“That would be do-able,” Craft said.

Becker asked Craft about having an off-duty officer come when needed.

Craft said that could be done, and city officers could be called upon as well, but it can be difficult to find an officer.

“Could we have you check whether there would be a retired officer available?” Becker said.

“I’m not aware of one,” Craft said.

Becker said he’d like to start making changes.

“If we authorize you to hire a bailiff, we’ve got a six-month window to fill,” Becker said. “What are we going to do to fill that?”

Commissioners asked Craft to gather more information so the issue can be discussed again.

Last modified Aug. 28, 2019