Courthouse security equipment arrives

Posted 10/31/17

Kirk Boxleitner

kboxleitner@ptleader.com

High-definition security cameras have already been installed, an X-ray machine and a second magnetometer have been delivered, and Jefferson County is …

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Courthouse security equipment arrives

Posted

Kirk Boxleitner

kboxleitner@ptleader.com

High-definition security cameras have already been installed, an X-ray machine and a second magnetometer have been delivered, and Jefferson County is investigating communications devices for security personnel.

Jefferson County’s rollout of security measures on the second floor of the county courthouse – where the superior and district courtrooms are located – is continuing as planned.

Mark McCauley, director of central services for the county, said that magnetometers would be used in conjunction with hand-wand metal detectors as part of security checkpoints in the basement and on the second floor of the courthouse.

“We considered putting the checkpoint with the X-ray machine on the first floor, but it doesn’t have the depth of space we needed, so we went with the second floor instead,” said McCauley. He noted that the magnetometer does not emit radiation of any kind, and even the X-ray machine should be well within safe standards for radiation.

“These X-ray machines are calibrated and certified according to national standards,” he said.

McCauley added that the county is looking into walkie-talkies for the security guards with whom it is to eventually contract, so that they can communicate and coordinate with civil deputies at the courthouse.

“The security personnel we contract with are not authorized to do certain things,” McCauley said. “They can screen people coming in and enhance the security inspection process. What they can’t do is trespass people or escort them out of the building.”

RFPs DUE ON NOV. 8

McCauley noted that the county has already advertised for a contractor to provide security personnel, and has even proactively contacted nearly 20 companies identified as potential candidates.

“Everyone’s proposals are due Nov. 8,” McCauley said. “We’re putting together a proposal evaluation team, according to the request for proposal [RFP] criteria.”

Based on the quality of those proposals, McCauley expects the applicants to be reduced to a handful of semifinalists, with the aim of affording each one enough time to present their pitches in person.

“From there, we’ll select a contractor, asking if they can execute the contract as is,” McCauley said. “We’ll be weighing criteria. If your proposal is low-cost, but it’ll take you months to mobilize? Our goal is to implement this as soon as possible, but we recognize that they might need to reassign or recruit personnel to work here.”

McCauley’s target date for a contractor to be approved by the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners is Dec. 11.

“The whole process has come together fairly well,” McCauley said. “It took a little longer to polish the RFP than I would have liked, but we’ve already mounted three cameras in the second-floor lobby area.”

McCauley explained that the county is working with each department to determine not only where they want their cameras to be aimed, in case they want to monitor high-traffic areas like the service counter, but also whom the departments want to oversee those cameras.

“If there’s a struggle on the floor outside the county clerk’s office, if someone in the office can see that struggle without opening the door, and see whether it involves a deadly weapon, they can determine whether to get to a safe space,” McCauley said. “It’s the difference between being unaware and being situationally aware.”

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