Friday, February 15, 2013
Increased security measures are coming to the courts in Hutchinson next year.
This is a response to numerous requests throughout the years to make the courthouse more secure.
Reno County Commissioners have finally authorized funds to improve security at the courthouse in 2014. The number of entrances will be reduced to one, and metal detectors will be added in the building.
“We've had enough incidents that it is a growing concern,” said Reno County Commission Chairman Dan Deming. “Judges and attorneys and particularly the sheriff have asked us to do something for a number of years. And the time has come.”
The courthouse is currently used for trials, but it’s also used for other functions, like getting car tags. Lines can be extended past the elevators, which sometimes causes uncomfortable and unsafe scenarios when inmates walk by.
“Very uncomfortable for citizens and uncomfortable for prisoners,” Deming said. “If somebody wants to do something to them, they're close enough. They can do some harm.”
The Reno County sheriff says courthouse security is always a “hot topic.” In 2010, a man was caught with two loaded guns in court. He also says pipe bombs, a grenade and a knife have confronted court officers over the years.
“We have been asking for it for a long time,” said Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson. “It really makes me feel good that they're finally understanding.”
On April 2, people in Hutchinson will get a chance to vote on a $28 million Reno County jail project as well as moving some of the non-court functions into the old jail annex.
If the vote fails, those non-court functions will remain at the courthouse. But people will have to go through new security screenings next year.