County leaders addressing courthouse security concerns without n - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

County leaders addressing courthouse security concerns without needing voters

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Last week, Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady called for more security in courthouses across Iowa and asked lawmakers to make courthouse security a priority this year.

In September, one person was killed in the Jackson County Courthouse after a man walked in and fired two shots.

The Jackson County courthouse is not the only one in eastern Iowa without medal detectors, there are several.

Just two months ago, Johnson County voters rejected a courthouse proposal that would have partially addressed security concerns.

Three times in the past three years voters rejected a proposal, and now Johnson County  leaders are moving forward without needing any action from voters.

They say even before Cady's announcement, addressing security measures were been in the talks for years.

"We've delayed it because we were trying to get the bond issue passed," said chairman of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors Pat Harney.

Harney says they've been working to add more security to the Johnson County Courthouse for year, but they were hoping to do it through the bond issue.

However, county leaders are back to the table, without voters.

They're working to add more security and safety in the courthouse by planning to budget $250,000 which will will be for the design and construction of a temporary secure entrance on the back, west side of the courthouse.

They also plan to budget an additional $150,000 for two more deputies.

County leaders say it'll be like a portable classroom and is set to have metal detectors, electronic motioning and many other security measures.

"So we decided to take steps to improve the courthouse security, so we're looking at measures of what we can and cannot do," said Harney. "It does nothing for the space that is needed, it does nothing for the court systems. It just simply makes the long tern courthouse security safer for everyone utilizing the courthouse."

The new security area, is expected to take away some parking at the courthouse, and the main entrance will eventually be on the back side of the courthouse.

Next month they plan to have a rough final design,  and if approved leaders hope to move quickly in securing the courthouse.

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