The Eau Claire County Courthouse talks about improving security

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Every day, people go into courtrooms at the Eau Claire County Courthouse. But right now, no one is searching for weapons, or any dangerous object. Now, the county is looking at changing that.

Right now you can just walk into the building and go up to the second floors without any screening or search. And even with two uniformed officers patrolling the floor, many believe security could be even better.

“It (security) has been a priority, and it continues to be a priority,” said Eau Claire County Board Chair, Gregg Moore.

In the past 11-years, some changes have been made to security for the courts in Eau Claire.
Recently, public access has been limited to one entry point, surveillance cameras are being installed on the floor, and many facilities have key-only entrance.

“The subject of security, not only for the court houses but for public areas all across the country has been in the news a lot,” said Eau Claire County Judge William Gabler.

With that in mind, Gabler asked the County Board last week to keep focusing on improving security.

“The reason for any security system is to protect members of the public, that's our primary concern,” added Gabler.

The ‘staging area’ was added to the second floor of the court house during last remodeling, for possible scanning of the employees as well as the guests of the courts.

“Ideally what is done, is people that are screened through some sort of a metal detector, to make sure they don't have any contraband on them. And by contraband I mean weapons, guns, knives, those sorts of things,” said Gabler.

Moore says it's a good idea, but money is tight. And he says the Board is looking into some other options, which include continuing with screenings on case by case basis, improving signage and performing random searches.

“If there was screening here it would be just another measure of improvement of safety and security for everyone,” added Moore.

The County Board doesn't have any specific numbers on how much the ‘staging area’ would cost. But the County already has some screening equipment at the sheriff's department that can be permanently stationed on the second floor.

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