Courthouse security discussed

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Security concerns in the Putnam County Courthouse will be addressed with a new committee suggested by Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley.

With four entrances into the building, it can be hard to monitor who goes into the building, and whether people are obeying the weapons ban that has been in place for many years.

Judge Headley told Commissioners Gene Beck, Kristina Warren and Jim Baird on Monday that he had an independent survey conducted that shows the courthouse security lacks minimum standards.

In 2008, the courthouse will have a civil deputy stationed in the building to monitor security. But that may not be enough to discourage criminal acts.

There is a metal detector available for the building, Headley said, but it is currently not used.

Commissioner Gene Beck said the only entrance that could be monitored by the metal detector would be the east hallway, and that would mean all incoming people would have to be routed to the east doors of the courthouse.

They could still exit any of the four sets of doors around the building, but limiting the entrance to the east side might aggravate the public.

The east doors are also not the main handicap accessible entrance. So modifications would be needed to the doors and entryway on the east side of the building, where a handicap ramp already exists.

Commissioner Kristina Warren, who works in the courthouse daily, agreed that security is a real concern for the public offices.

Beck agreed.

"We need to do something before anything happens," Gene said.

County planner Kim Hyten noted that security measures depend on what offices are housed in the courthouse. If only the court system and related offices were in the building, security would have already been addressed he noted.

If a courthouse annex is ever constructed to house offices such as the county treasurer, auditor, assessor and real estate departments, the security needs for the building would change.

The commissioners agreed to set up a committee to look into the issue. Headley agreed to organize that group and try to have recommendations for the commissioners in February or March.

The next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19 at the courthouse annex, 209 W. Liberty St., Greencastle.

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  • I have often wondered when the lack of security in the court house was going to be addressed. It is way past time, because it is only a matter of time before some whack job does the unthinkable.

    -- Posted by keith on Thu, Nov 8, 2007, at 9:20 AM
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