by Clint Boehler
WALSENBURG-The public entrance to the Huerfano County Courthouse building has changed. Effective now, the public will enter and exit through the main doors located on the Main Street side of the building. There are seven steps up to the doors, and a motorized chair adjacent to the stairs provides assistance in accordance with the national disabilities act.
Ongoing security measures applied to all courthouses in the state required this change in pedestrian traffic. The new accommodations are expensive, but most of the funding was secured through grants and gifts. The approximate $25,000 cost of the motorized chair was funded through several sources, including $14,000 in grant monies provided through the County Clerk’s office to provide access for voters, an $8,000 gift from Petroglyph, and various other donations from concerned parties.
Included with the new entrance are several new surveillance cameras focused on different parts of the building. Four of the planned eight cameras are now in operation with the remaining four being brought on line shortly.
The current 2009 Courts Security Grants allow $15,000 for surveillance equipment and an additional $75,000 in the 2010 grant. While the annual grant amounts include personnel expenses, the additional monies are earmarked for added security scanning equipment. For 2010, this equipment will include a palm scanner to allow employees to gain access and a bag scanner similar to airport equipment that will enable door security personnel to view bag contents without being intrusive.
The grants for courthouse security are expected to be ongoing for several years and changes to security needs will be indicated with each cycle.