Judge Says Thomas County Courthouse Needs Better Security

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It's a building that stands local icon, but many agree with Judge H. Arthur McLane that the Thomas County Courthouse needs better security.

Thomas County resident Rose Weston says, "I think it would be very good for Thomas County; I think the citizens of Thomas County would feel more secure about security at the courthouse."

In Judge McLane's letter to the commission he outlines four specific phases of security that need to be upgraded. The chief judge suggests that commissioners install metal detectors, surveillance cameras, x-ray machines and a system to screen everyone entering the building.

Thomas County Commissioner for District 8, Elaine Mays, says, "We don't have the money, plain and simple. It's not something we budgeted for, although we knew that somewhere along the way it would come. I think we will do whatever we have to do."

Mays says commissioners will squeeze as many of the upgrades as they can into next year's county budget, but says additional funding will be needed.

Mays adds, "I think Thomas County citizens need to get ready; there is going to be a tax increase."

And whether through the county budget or a tax hike, Judge McLane says the security upgrades must be in place by 2008 at the latest.

Commissioners will further discuss courthouse security at a public meeting October 18.