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CONCERN ABOUT SECURITY AT OKANOGAN CLERK'S OFFICE

Our friends at the Methow Valley News report staff in the Okanogan County Clerk’s Office are concerned about their safety after an increasing number of incidents with members of the public who are irate or who act inappropriately toward staff.


Clerk Susan Speiker told county commissioners, quoting here, “The climate that we’re dealing with has changed.”


Recently, a member of the public stopped Speiker in the hall to ask if she felt safe because the person was concerned about her safety. Speiker said that’s not a normal question.


Speiker told commissioners about a member of the public who wanted to place a restraining order against the clerk, and about other incidents where an individual threatened the staff. Another person refused to follow regulations because the person believed there wasn’t adequate signage.


The county is putting up partitions at the windows of the Clerk’s Office in the county courthouse. The partitions help protect office staff by shielding them from view and provide privacy so they can help more than one client at a time at the service window.


Spreiker said the staff is particularly on edge after a December incident in Snohomish County, where the courthouse was locked down for three hours after a man entered carrying at least two guns and refused to put them down when ordered by police officers.


Speiker told the commissioners that she’s concerned about staff members getting safely to their vehicles, particularly in the evening after the courthouse closes. She’s worried that people will resign because they don’t feel safe at work.


You can find more on this at methowvalleynews.com.

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