The Monroe County Commissioners are setting out to make the courthouse more secure, and the first steps were taken to do so during their Aug. 25 regular session meeting. In recent weeks, several executive sessions have been held between commissioners, Sheriff Charles Black Jr., Prosecuting Attorney James Peters, Common Pleas Judge Julie Selmon, County Court Judge Jim Peters, and Juvenile and Probate Judge Clifford Sickler in regards to courthouse security. Now, commissioners have enrolled the help of David Haught of DLH Design to discuss the possibility of completing a feasibility study about creating a single secure entrance.
According to the conversation with Haught, commissioners are considering the possibilities of closing all courthouse entrances except for one to the public. That entrance would then be guarded during business hours, and courthouse visitors would be required to enter through a metal detector. Such a measure would put the Monroe County Courthouse security on par with Belmont and Jefferson counties. Currently Noble and Washington counties have a similar set-up as Monroe with no secured entrance.
Haught told commissioners he has guided such changes in other courthouses but that Monroe County has a unique set-up. “You have an interesting situation with the number of public entrances you have here,” Haught said.
Haught said the following things must be determined before initiating such a project: 1. The primary entrance must be designated, 2. The type of security station to install must be decided upon, 3. The public must be educated on what changes are being made and why, and 4. It must be determined who must enter through the secured entrance and whether or not a separate key-card entrance will be open to courthouse employees.
Commissioner John Pyles commented that he is hoping for “the most economical solution with the nicest appearance.” Commissioners and Haught toured the courthouse to determine the possibilities.