Limiting courthouse access to single entrance recommended
Proposal would also add sheriff’s deputy for better security
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Public access to the Oneida County Courthouse in Rhinelander would be limited to a single point of entry under a resolution backed by the county’s Public Safety Committee.
“The Public Safety Committee believes that for the safety and security of not only the employees of the courthouse but also (members of) the public who visit the courthouse, a single, secure entrance, staffed by a sheriff deputy, for the public entering the courthouse is necessary,” the resolution states.
Along with the courthouse now being accessible to the public from more than one entrance, no screening for contraband or weapons is currently taking place upon entering the building. The issue of courthouse security was on the agenda for consideration in closed session Monday by the county Buildings and Grounds Committee and Tuesday by the Public Safety Committee.
The resolution, which is on the agenda Thursday for a joint meeting of the county’s Labor Relations/Employee Services and Administration committees, also calls for hiring another sheriff’s deputy to be able to staff a single, secure entrance.
The Public Safety Committee is recommending that grant funding be sought through the United States Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to cover some of the initial costs of the new position. However, in the event the county would not be able to receive a grant, that committee still favors limiting the public to a single point of access.
The resolution, if approved by the full County Board, would authorize the sheriff’s department to apply for a COPS grant to be used for staffing a single access point at the courthouse and also refer the matter to the Buildings and Grounds Committee to implement a single monitored public access.
When asked about the current multiple public access points at the courthouse and where a single, secured access might be located, Sheriff Grady Hartman said a decision on the placement of a single point of entry has yet to be finalized.