Jackson County Courthouse continues to improve security

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- On any given day, hundreds of people can walk through the doors of a courthouse, now to keep workers and visitors safe one local courthouse is ‘amping’ up its security.

Jackson County made the headlines in 2011 when the U. S. Marshal's study showed the county courthouse building was in need of several upgrades, making sure staff and visitors are kept safe.
Two years later the courthouse is much more secure, but the county says there's always room for more improvement.

“For the size of our county we have done leaps and bounds to when we first started this project,” said Jackson County Sergeant Pat LaBarbera.

Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera says the court room main area saw a lot of improvements- security check points, glass barrier separating the public from the officials, and armed deputy-bailiffs on duty.

“In 2013 we actually improved, I believe, the outer appearance of the court room, where the barrier system was more advanced, where before we just had bailiffs in the hallway; that was a major change and the check point was put up,” explained the sheriff.

LaBarbera says in 2013 some offices, like Zoning and the Clerk of Courts were upgraded with bullet-resistant glass.
This year, the County Treasurer and Register of Deeds offices are looking at those upgrades too.

“Access to the courthouse itself, I think, is an issue that we will be addressing in 2014,” said LaBarbera.

He says access to the courthouse could be limited from three entrances to one.

The sheriff says among some of the changes that could be coming in the near future is adding Branch 2 to the courthouse.

“The benefit of the second branch or the circuit court as law enforcement would see it is that we would have a safer, more security facility for when we transport inmate to and from jail to the courts,” added Sheriff Waldera.

He says all security efforts will now be on-going to make sure staff and visitors to the courthouse feel safe and secure.

The sheriff says although a lot of upgrades and changes depend of the funding available he hopes all security measures will be complete by 2015.

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