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More Security Talk in Lee County

Jason Parrott
The South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk

The Lee County Board of Supervisors broached the issue of building security during this week's meeting.  The discussion between the supervisors, the department heads, and other county employees covered a wide range of the usual topics.

  • Adding Security Glass
  • Installing Video Cameras and Monitors
  • Locking Doors
  • Limiting Public Entrances
  • Panic Buttons

The supervisors did not take any action, other than to request cost estimates from the maintenance department on the security steps it feels are appropriate.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Fedler is confident the next time the issue comes up during a meeting, it will include a vote to approve some larger-scale security measures.

"It comes to a point of, 'OK, we agree this is something we need to do,'" said Fedler, "And these are the dollars (needed to pay for it)."

Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
The North Lee County Courthouse

The cost estimates are expected to be made for three buildings.

  • North Lee County Courthouse
  • North Lee County Office Building
  • South Lee County Courthouse

Fedler admitted it could be tricky to find the money to pay for what could be costly improvements.
Budget Director Cindy Renstrom said she's working on an amendment to the current budget, which is standard for the county.  She said the board would have the option to add money for security if it so chooses.

Fedler said it's not as if the county has ignored security in recent months.  He said steps to keep employees and the public safe have been implemented.

"We are actually doing things that people have not noticed," said Fedler.  "We have been doing some training with some department heads on different scenarios that we have not made public."

Fedler said it's important to keep some things private when dealing with security issues so people do not know how employees will respond to a given situation.

In the meantime, County Auditor Denise Fraise told the board she is working with the Fort Madison Police Department on a possible active shooter training session for county employees.

The issue of courthouse security came up again after a Fort Madison man was arrested last month for threatening to bring a crossbow to the North Lee County Courthouse.

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