Court Security Not Up to Date

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It’s take two for Thomas County voters getting ready to vote again on upgrading or even rebuilding the county courthouse. At issue is security.

Court cases range from divorces to murders, all of which drip with high emotions that can lead to violent outcomes when verdicts are read and sentences are given out, but the century-and-a-half-year-old Thomas County Courthouse hasn't seen a change in security measures since 1992.

Superior Court Judge Jim Hardy said, "This building was built in 1860, and times were different. This building has a number of entrances and exits, and modern technology limits to one entrance and one exit."

And with five ways to get in and out, securing all the exits can be hard to do.

CAPT David Johnson said, "There hasn't been any changes to the building, hasn't been an increase in personnel, to be able to man a courthouse with all the entrances it has, the Sheriff's Office just doesn't have the personnel to do this."

In July the county will vote on an additional sales tax which could help raise money to either renovate or build a brand new courthouse. Court officials say a new building would be better equipped to handle modern security, giving employees and the public a safer courthouse.

The additional sales tax would also help improve mobile car radios for public safety personnel, improving communication in times of emergency.