More security is coming to the Okanogan County Courthouse. Our friends at the Methow Valley News reports that due to a growing number of threats and security concerns, two security guards will be stationed in the courthouse.
Back in January, we reported that Clerk Susan Speiker told county commissioners that incidents involving irate people or those who act inappropriately towards staff have become more common, and that it's more difficult to calm people down simply by talking to them. Speiker said employees now fear for their safety.
In response, the county is taking several measures, including installing security cameras and partitions that shield employees from view. The county is contracting with Pacific Security for the guards, who will be unarmed to start, but the county hopes armed guards can be provided once the certification process is complete. The unarmed guards will cost almost 55-thousand dollars per officer, armed guards almost 70-thousand. Since there are so many entries to the courthouse, the guards will roam the building rather than be stationed in a specific location.
Speiker says the county is also considering training for courthouse staff to help identify the best response to various events and incidents. The county is also exploring weapons-detection equipment, which could potentially qualify for a grant.