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Lee County Talking Courthouse Security

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Lee County is poised to address a glaring deficiency when it comes to public safety.

A sheriff's deputy remains in a courtroom in Keokuk and Fort Madison when an inmate goes before a judge in criminal cases, but there is no security in either the North or South Lee County Courthouse for civil cases or divorce proceedings.

Sheriff Jim Sholl said he doesn't have the manpower necessary to provide daily security in the two buildings.

"To try and staff, even for 5.5 hours a day, a full-time deputy in a courtroom, it is just unworkable with my present staffing."

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The South Lee County Courthouse

Sholl wants to hire one or two part-timers to cover roughly 27 hours per week between the two buildings, which is based on recommendations from local judges.

He said the upfront cost for training and equipment would be a couple thousand dollars while the annual wages would total about $21,000.

Sholl presented his proposal to the Board of Supervisors during a recent workshop.  The supervisors seemed receptive and made plans to discuss it later this month.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.