County to add metal detector to courthouse

After recommendations from the Courthouse Safety Committee, Jack County Commissioners agreed to implement two proposals and tabled two others during a Feb. 25 meeting.

County Judge Keith Umphress said the committee, which has met twice and consists of department heads and law enforcement from the county, met with Jacksboro ISD officials recently and was impressed with what the district had done in improving security. 

Committee members took ideas from different groups and recommended:

• Getting a metal detector;

• Active shooter training and first aid training in the case of an active shooter;

• Replacing the east door on the courthouse to make it more modern; and

• Installing a magnetic lock system for the north, east, and south doors of the courthouse.

After significant discussion on all four items, the court voted unanimously to get the metal detector and instructed Constable Clyde Watson to get active shooter training scheduled. The other two items were tabled so more information on cost can be received.

The metal detector would be portable and would not be used every day. It would more than likely be placed at the north entrance with law enforcement manning the machine. Employees could use a pass code so they would not have to go through the detector, Umphress said.

Cost for the detector is about $5,100, Watson said. It would provide both a physical and mental deterrent, Umphress said.

It, and all courthouse improvements, would be paid for out of the courthouse security fund, which has about $129,000 in it presently. Monies for the fund come from cases filed in the county judicial system.

Active shooter training would be done at a minimal cost with most cost being needed for first aid bags for each of the offices. Umphress told Watson to have that set up within the next 30-45 days.

Much of the discussion came on the last two items which commissioners seemed to have some qualms with, especially with the amount of glass in the doors. Precinct 3 Commissioner Henry Birdwell said anyone with a gun can get in through the glass.

The west door of the courthouse also brought up concern for not being part of the locking system. Anyone needing to get out could still do so by pushing on the bar-like doors similar to what is in most schools.

Still, Watson was instructed to get some further numbers on what such a system would cost.

Jacksboro Newspapers

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