The Clinton County Courthouse is about to get a little safer.
Issues such as entrances, weapons on the property and personal electronic devices are addressed in a new security policy that the Clinton County Board of Supervisors will vote on next week. Clinton County Justice Coordinator Brian McKenrick, Sheriff Rick Lincoln and Lt. Tom Paarmann presented the courthouse security policy that will be enforced by the sheriff’s office during the board’s meeting Monday.
The security policy is based on policies by other counties. Paarmann and McKenrick agreed that policy could change once they see what situations come up. Chairman Brian Schmidt agreed that the policy is fluid. Paarmann said this would allow them to re-interpret as needed.
A key issue deals with individuals entering the building. During regular public hours, individuals will be subject to screening by the sheriff’s office using a combination of walk-through, handheld and package screening devices. Paarmann said it will be up to the sheriff’s office to establish screening policies. Employees will not be subject to the same screening.
“The reason why everyone wouldn’t be subject to security screening as general policy to improve the flow of people into the courthouse during the high-traffic times so that general members of the public won’t have to sit in line while employees are being screened and everyone else is being screened in,” McKenrick said.
These screening procedures will be put in place once security personnel are hired and trained. Paarmann said it will take some time.
New guidelines are also established to prevent weapons, such as firearms, knives and other items on courthouse property. The sheriff’s office will evaluate requests for authorization to bring weapons on the property on a case-by-case basis. Any unauthorized person who does not have a permit to carry on them may be subject to arrest. Those with a permit shall be required to secure the weapon prior to entering the building.
According to the policy, personal electronic devices will be allowed within the courthouse, outside of the courtrooms.
“People are more and more reliant on technology. We should recognize that in our policy wherever possible,” McKenrick said. “I think it’s important that individuals still be allowed to communicate with one another when they are not in a court proceeding.”
McKenrick felt they should wait until a problem arises before taking away personal electronic devices.
“People have become so dependent upon their cellphones,” Lincoln said. “They’re used for more than just talking. They’re a great source of information for everyone. And it has become one of those tools that everybody is used to having with them almost all the time.”
Lincoln added that it would be inconvenient to those people who walked up to the entrance and then had to go back to their cars to put their phone away. He said they do not want to take possession of them and become responsible for the property.
Cellphones and other devices could only be used if they do not become a nuisance.
The Clinton County Courthouse is about to get a little safer.
Man charged in meth case
A Clinton man has been charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine.
Timothy W. Atkinson, 35, 1419 Honey Lane, was arrested Sunday after Clinton police executed a search warrant at his residence.
Judge denies guilty plea withdrawal
A Clinton County District Court judge has denied a man's attempt at withdrawing a guilty plea.
Eric R. Hook, 45, 900 S. 10th St., was sentenced last week to no more than five years in prison for willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony. He also was given a sentence of no more than two years in prison for domestic abuse assault, second offense, to be served concurrently.
Medication drop boxes available
Although no formal event is planned in Clinton County for Saturday’s nationwide Medication Take Back Day, area officials are reminding residents this week about permanent drop boxes aT area law enforcement agencies.
Unused or expired medications can be disposed of during normal business hours in the lobbies of four police departments in Clinton County — Camanche Police Department, 819 South Washington Blvd.; Clinton County Sheriff’s office, 241 Seventh Ave. North; Clinton Police Department, 116 Sixth Ave. South; DeWitt Police Department, 606 Ninth St.
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