Public entry now limited to Main St. doors
Saturday, October 05, 2013 5:00 AM
Jefferson County officials continue to revamp and rethink Courthouse security measures to protect visitors and employees.
The commissioners agreed Friday to change the public's entry point from the Jefferson Street entrance to the Main Street entrance on the building's north side.
County officeholders told the commissioners that visitors have been bypassing - mistakenly and sometimes intentionally - the metal detector and security desk. With the current location of the metal detector, visitors can actually access some of offices, the stairwell to the second floor and the bathrooms without checking through security.
The officials requested that the security checkpoint be switched to the Main Street entrance - which includes a short hallway with no office doors - and then lock all other entry ways.
"I've had customers in the clerk's office bragging that they slipped in the door," said Clerk Karen Mannix.
Commissioners took the advice of the officeholders and immediately made the change.
Sheriff John Wallace said since adding the security officers and metal detectors this summer, the sheriff's department has made at least 10 narcotics arrests and found visitors with prohibited items such as guns and knives.
"It's been a positive, and it's a learning experience," Wallace said.
In other business:
Commissioner President Tom Pietrykowski reported that a class from Madison Consolidated High School will build a display for the old Courthouse bell on the Courthouse lawn. The bell was removed and later restored after a fire damaged the Courthouse in May 2009.
There is no project timeline, but the work is being made possible through a Madison-Jefferson County Community Foundation grant.
Wallace reported Deputy Patrick Finnegan, who will handle the sheriff's department's new K-9, will soon leave for training. In addition, Wallace requested help from the county highway department in building a kennel for the new dog. The commissioners granted the request.
Wallace also reported that the department was given a Gator - a utility vehicle - and trailer by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The vehicle is intended for use throughout Indiana's District 9 - which includes 12 counties - but will be stored in Jefferson County.
The commissioners approved a quote from Servpro to remove mold at the Courthouse annex building. The work is not exceed $3,000.