County unveils secure courthouse entrance



A trip to the Rice County courthouse is going to be a bit more time consuming from now on. This week, the courthouse unveiled a secure entrance, which includes a walk-through metal detector and an X-ray scanner that ensure weapons aren’t making their way into court.
The only access to the courthouse is now on the west side, adjacent to the Government Services Building. That was the only door that is handicapped accessible. The others are locked from the outside and if opened from the inside set off alarms.
The technology is similar to that used in buildings across the nation, and according to Sheriff Troy Dunn, will allow his office to reduce the number of deputies in the building. Those roles will be reassigned to other areas, he said, including patrol. Two deputies will continue to man the west entrance and aid visitors as they become familiar with the screening process.
Dunn has said that the security measures were a critical improvement. He’s noted that people who come to the courthouse are often under extreme stress and that ensuring no one has access to weapons assures the safety of all inside the building.
The project, which engineers expected would cost around $500,000 was far less expensive, only about $150,000.
Because the county had enough cash on hand to complete the work, it didn’t need to include the project in a planned bond issue and was able to complete the work earlier than expected.


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