Expanding security measures at Stark County Courthouse a tough propositionIssues with handicap accessibility, parking and space at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson have the county’s commissioners wondering if professional help is necessary to update security for the structure.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
Issues with handicap accessibility, parking and space at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson have the county’s commissioners wondering if professional help is necessary to update security for the structure.
Commissioner Pete Kuntz said at this week’s County Commission meeting held in the courthouse that it might be wise to hire a professional to help determine what route to take if the commission would decide to go ahead with security updates.
“Unfortunately, Stark County Courthouse has parking on the back entrance versus the front,” Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said. “We have space at the front door (to put in security), but the parking isn’t there.”
Commissioner Jay Elkin said security updates would be a matter of determining what entrance of the courthouse to use.
Tuhy said a metal detector on the north entrance of the building might cause confusion for people coming in, especially because of handicap accessibility in the vicinity.
“My suggestion, as it has always been when I’ve brought it up, is to extend the handicap accessibility to come in from the south and lock the doors there,” he said. “I’ve talked to district court and the entrance that is on the west side is really cramped, and I don’t know that we even want people to go by district court going in.”
Because parking at the courthouse is already on the north end of the building, Elkin suggested finding a way to make that entrance work for security purposes.
But Tuhy said trying to make the north entrance work for security purposes may take time and money.
“It would be awful crowded,” he said. “And not only that, but it would also mean adding on an entryway on the north side.”
Tuhy said he spoke to his staff, and they think it would require adding a handicap ramp from the north and a metal detector would be in the way for people who needed to access the lower courtroom.
The sheriff suggested the county consider doing a courtroom security study, an idea mentioned by the commission previously.
“I think we need to go forward and do something with (court security),” Tuhy said. “I think it would be a benefit to have courthouse security over courtroom security.”
He added that it may be useful to see what other courthouses are doing for security in areas similar to Stark County.