EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- New security measures are coming to the Eau Claire County courthouse.
Metal detectors and x-ray machines added to the second floor of the Eau Claire County Courthouse.
Security measures include x-rays of items carried in and the requirement of passing through a metal detector.
According to the Eau Claire County Administrator, beginning July 1, security screening will take place for all non-county employees and visitors needing access to the second floor of the facility that contains courtrooms, the District Attorney Office, and the Clerk of Courts.
Dan Bresina of the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office explained the process that ended in the implementing of these new security procedures.
“We were asked to do a review about two years ago of courthouse screening”, Bresina said. “We have a security and facilities committee that was asked to look at this. We gave several recommendations and the county board ultimately made the decision to be preemptive versus reactive to courthouse security and screening. So that’s why you see the screening process the way it is today.”
Eau Claire has contracted with Per Mar Security Service to implement these changes and to help provide peace of mind to all who enter the building’s second floor.
While weapons are not allowed to be brought into the courthouse by non-law enforcement, Bresina says that the new process is very secure and highlighted some of the items that are prohibited.
“Items not allowed in the courthouse and specifically on the second floor would include: guns, knives or sharp objects of any kind, ammunitions, explosives, electric weapons, martial arts weapons, mace, pepper spray, things like axes, hatchets, and crossbows”, he said.
Bresina said the new process was not sparked by any specific incidents.
Former Eau Claire County Circuit Judge, William M. Gabler, is happy that screening is now available and reflected on the long process.
“It’s just wonderful that we have screening now and we’ve been working at this for well over ten years” Gabler said. “We are thrilled that the county board has been able to find the resources to have screening on the second floor.”
A trial period for the security system started June 17 and will allow for the testing of security equipment as well as public education of the new process.
According to Bresina, the new security features will cost $190,000 annually to operate.
Non-county employees and visitors will be allowed access to the second floor Monday - Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.