County Commissioners May Declare Emergency Regarding Courthouse Security Measures
OLYMPIA -- Thurston County Commissioners Monday will be asked to approve emergency authorization to allow rapid installation of some video equipment in Superior Court. The declaration of an emergency would allow Central Services to bypass the normal bidding process to quickly obtain and install the equipment needed to perform video arraignments while allowing the subject inmate to remain in the county jail. Installing the arraignment equipment in two courts and wiring all four courts will cost the county an estimated $140,000.
County Chief Administrative Officer Don Krupp says the expenditure makes sense. "Its prudent to look at the various ways we can make the courthouse more secure and more safe for the public and for staff. Cutting down on the movement of inmates out of the jail is one step we can take to improve security."
County Commission Chair Bob Macleod says other measures will also be taken. "Commissioners Wolfe, Oberquell and I have asked Chief Karen Daniels and the Corrections staff to advance their proposed measures to increase inmate transport safety. Given the lead-time needed to hire and train new officers, it's important that the Corrections Bureau move quickly on this. We want to be responsive to both short term and long term solutions to this situation."
Several security improvements have already been authorized and some are in the process of implementation. They include-
- $50,000 to pay for overtime to allow double corrections staffing when inmates are moved from jail to court and back.
- $40,000 for installation and $127,000 for staffing for a new weapons screening station at District Court.
- $13,500 for elevator security improvements.
- $25,000 for video arraignment facilities in the jail.
- $580,000 for planning for a secure, single entry point for the three main buildings on the county campus.
Commissioners will take up the emergency declaration issue at 9 AM Monday when they hold their regular weekly commission meeting in Room 280 of the Thurston County Courthouse.