UPDATE: Officials with the Olmsted County board of commissioners voted unanimously to install weapon screening devices on the second floor of their courthouse.
The project is expected to cost approximately $5.6 million and will include a 1,000 square-foot addition to five floors of the courthouse.
Not everyone will be subject to the screening, Belinda Krenik with county administrations says that the screening will only be required for individuals doing business on the upper floors of the building.
Along with the new screening devices, the additional square footage will allow for new conference rooms as well as meeting areas to be available for courthouse officials.
KIMT News 3 – A courthouse seems like a safe place to be with so many members of law enforcement on standby, but considering the tense emotions and criminal cases found there, some are considering an increase in courthouse security.
County officials in both Winnebago and Olmsted County met on Tuesday to discuss new plans to make their courthouses safer.
Matt Flynn, one of the board members in Olmsted County says that the need for security comes after a realization of societal norms in that things have just gotten more and more violent over the years.
“Unfortunately, our society today is more and more violent and when we look at the parameters of what’s going on in this courthouse obviously we want to be proactive and make sure nothing does ever happen.”
Better security means better safety, but not without a high price tag.
Olmsted County is considering the installment of metal detectors on one or multiple floors of the courthouse, employing an officer to roam the premises, or nothing at all.
They’re expecting costs to range from about $3.5 million to $5.5 million and are voting on the issue this week.
Because cost is a major factor in implementing measures like this, both counties say they’re looking to see what has worked elsewhere, and what has not.
“We want to make sure we have a safe environment at the courthouse,” says Terry Durby, a Winnebago County Supervisor.
Just like Flynn, Durby says they’re not concerned about what has happened already, rather, what could happen in the future if nothing is done.
“We feel like we are a fairly safe community here but there’s always that unknown,” Durby says.