Committee hears sheriff’s courthouse security proposal.

January 23, 2018

Mason County Courthouse

Committee hears sheriff’s courthouse security proposal.

#MasonCountyNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole has presented a courthouse security proposal to the Mason County Board of Commissioners’ Public Safety and Courts Committee.

Cole’s proposal calls for the equivalent of hiring two full-time persons to provide security at Mason County Courthouse, a total of 4,160 hours a year plus up to 350 additional hours for after-hour court hearings and training. He has suggested hiring six to eight certified police officers to work part-time, earning $18 to $20 per hour with no benefits, adding that retired law enforcement personnel would be his recommended choice.

Initial set-up costs would be about $2,500 to $3,000, which would include purchasing uniforms, handguns, handcuffs, pepper spray, baton, ballistic vest, and other appropriate equipment.

During a previous meeting, the committee had asked Cole to present a proposal.

“Although there have been no standard policies as they relate to the operation of court security officers, the courthouse employees should see no change in the functions of the courthouse,” the Sheriff said. “I have no intentions of limiting access or checking staff. Those assigned to court security will check in each day with the chief judge to receive court schedules and any tasks the judge sees fit to best protect those who work or visit the Mason County Courthouse.”

The committee voted to have Sheriff Cole and County Administrator Fabian Knizacky to come up with exact numbers for the committee to consider during the February meeting.

The commissioners discussed how the proposal would be paid for. In December, the sheriff had requested the commissioners consider approving his request to fund four additional road patrol deputies at a cost of about $400,000 per year. The road patrol proposal will likely be placed on the ballot for tax payer approval after it is brought up to the county commission as a whole. If the proposal were to be approved by the commissioners, the topic of whether courthouse security would included on a millage election, has not yet been determined.

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