Ohio County officials still want to beef up security at the City-County Building and hope they will win a $150,395 grant to do so.
In past years, the commission has applied for a state courthouse security grant that would provide funding to enclose the front entrance of the building into a storefront-style area. With this same funding, the entrance to the police station would be moved to the exterior of the building where a window is now situated.
Funding for the project has been denied in the past. But Administrator Greg Stewart hopes with a new application - approved Tuesday by Commissioners Orphy Klempa, Tim McCormick and Randy Wharton - that includes a larger match from the county, the grant will be approved.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
A sticker warns people entering the City-County Building that X-ray radiation is in use to screen people’s bags and other belongings.
''With the grant application there is a match requirement. We're trying to bolster our application by putting on there we'll contribute $30,000 cash. ... And $65,000 for the security personnel line item cost for security we already have at the front door. ... We hope with that size match, the grant committee will look upon it favorably this year,'' Stewart said.
He noted a new requirement of the grant application is that the county have a security meeting with the elected officials and a judge to talk about existing and planned features.
''Those (meeting) minutes have to go down with the application,'' Stewart said, noting the application is due by month's end.
Last year, an X-ray machine with a conveyor belt - already owned by the county - was installed along with a walk-through metal detector manned by a sheriff's deputy and security guard. Stewart noted the county is moving toward phasing out its use of security guards - many of whom are retired officers - during the next 12-18 months and replacing them with deputies. He said the security guards already are aware of the plan.
Stewart said previously the county may employ a guard or deputy to man the lobby's metal detector at night when public meetings, such as commission and City Council, are held. To date, this has not happened. After 5 p.m. the lobby is unmanned.