Sheriff questions building security

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Gov. Bob Riley recently awarded funds that could improve security at the Butler County Courthouse.

He gave the funds to the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts.

Riley’s office announced the approval of the grant last week.

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In a statement, the governor’s office said the money would be used to provide security equipment and personnel training to increase safety in judicial complexes.

David Williams, public information officer for the Administrative Office of Courts said the money is available on a &uot;first come, first serve&uot; basis to courthouse administrators who are adhering to the Alabama Supreme Court’s trial security plan.

&uot;If they are following that plan, then they are entitled to a portion of the money based on their needs,&uot; he said.

But Butler County is not likely to get any of that money, Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris said.

&uot;I had Art Baylor come down not too long ago, and do an assessment of the courthouse and its security,&uot; she said. &uot;He found significant security issues, mostly with the fact that we have two entrances for the public to enter the courthouse. He also suggested that the sheriff’s office should be where the voter registrar’s office used to be at the west entrance.&uot;

Harris said when she approached the county commissioners about the administrator’s security concerns; they didn’t take any action to address them.

&uot;I still haven’t gotten a response from them,&uot; she said. &uot;I have concerns about the two entrances myself, but I don’t think the commissioners think it’s a big problem. We need to upgrade our security for the courthouse, and it would help to be able to adhere to Baylor’s suggestions so we could apply for the grant money. So far, though, no one else seems concerned.&uot;

Several attempts to get commissioners to respond were unsuccessful.