Jackson County Courthouse undergoing series of security upgrades - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jackson County Courthouse undergoing series of security upgrades

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Larry "Buck" Koos Larry "Buck" Koos

One eastern Iowa county courthouse is upgrading its security.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors approved a list of upgrades recently.

This comes nearly eight months after Gus Glaser pulled a gun out at a Board of Supervisors meeting. He was tackled by Buck Koos, who was featured in a KWWL report last month.

These upgrades are the first phase in a multi-step approach to increasing security.

They'll be turning two of the courthouse's entrances into emergency exits only. They've also purchased about 100 flip books, which will have abbreviated protocols for all kinds of emergencies, including active shooter scenarios.

They'll also be installing a drop box outside the building, in an effort to cut down on the foot traffic inside the courthouse.

In addition, they'll be upgrading their pager and panic button systems.

All of these changes have been carefully considered over the months since that incident in September. And Koos is happy about that.

"It was really important to me to take my time and our time and continue what we started in June and not just fly off the handle and do something that wouldn't be right for Jackson County or something that Jackson County couldn't afford," Koos said.

In addition to the physical measures, officials are also looking to get their staff more training.

"You can go to the grocery store, you can go to the bank, you just don't know where an incident is going to occur, so I'd like to see us put some of those dollars in training," said Joell Deppe, the Jackson County Auditor.

She said nearly 60 people attended their most recent de-escalation training. They're also planning fire extinguisher training and ALICE training.

Most of the phase one should be implemented in the next month or so. 

County officials were able to use excess money this year to fund those Phase 1 changes. They've budgeted about $40,000 for Phase 2, which they hope to start July 1.

Those changes include an upgrade to the security camera system and a card-access system to the building -- meaning employees will need a card to access the courthouse.

"We need to have plans down the road, because technology's going to change on us overnight. So we need to make a commitment and the board needs to make a commitment to keep funding in there," Deppe said.

Koos said most of those upgrades should be completed before the end of the calendar year.

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