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Jefferson County Commission signs off on grant application to increase courthouse security

It would fund cost of setting up a central-monitoring station tied to all cameras

March 29, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Much of the security for Jefferson County’s public buildings, including the courthouse, depends on a few sheriff’s department bailiffs screening visitors through electronic pass-through devices.

When they’re not busy doing that, they’re supposed to keep their eyes on computer screens on their desks that are linked to more than 100 security cameras operating inside and outside county buildings.

In an effort to copy systems in place in Morgan and Berkeley counties, Director of Maintenance Bill Polk asked the Jefferson County Commission on Thursday to sign off on a $45,000 grant application to install a central-monitoring station tied to all of the county’s security cameras.

It would replace the computer monitors at the entrances to the main courthouse, magistrate court and circuit clerk buildings.

The grant would fund the cost of setting up the room and its equipment, and buying additional cameras, Polk said. The system would improve security in the courtrooms and all county buildings, he said.

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Circuit Judge David H. Sanders said it would create ongoing security for his courtroom.
A deputy at the monitoring station would see an emergency immediately and, if needed, send in more security, Sanders said.

Polk also asked the commission to hire two more bailiffs so the station could be manned on rotating short shifts.

Bailiffs are paid $12.81 per hour.

The grant would come through the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, which oversees courtroom security across the state, Polk said.

Commissioner Dale Manuel supported the grant, saying it’s needed “for the safety of all county employees.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the grant application, but postponed for two weeks a vote on hiring the two extra bailiffs.

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