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Added security for Grundy County offices discussed

Published: Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 8:57 p.m. CST

MORRIS – Residents visiting the Grundy County Administration building could be greeted by armed security guards if the county moves forward with hiring the officers needed.

Securing certain Grundy County offices, including the administration building, was the main topic of discussion Thursday at the the Grundy County Facilities Committee meeting.

The committee recommended hiring guards to replace the existing officers who secure the building on a part-time basis.

Compensation for the new patrolmen could cost about $40,000, an expenditure that still needs approval form the Finance Committee and County Board.

The guards would provide tighter security for the building which currently is manned by one unarmed front-desk employee and a part-time officer from the sheriff’s department.

Through a long-time arrangement between the sheriff and county chairman, the county has never paid for the part-time security of the administration building.

Hiring the full-time security staff also would free an office within the administration building that would likely be converted into a secure check-in station and possible waiting room for health department patients.

“I would like to have that office to centralize patient flow. It’s something we’ve talked about and the sheriff is on board with,” health department administrator Phil Jass said Thursday.

State’s attorney’s office

Remedying the poor security in the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office – positioned within the courthouse – also was discussed at length Thursday, though action was taken.

“We have the only state’s attorney’s office, that I know of, where people can just walk in and jump right over the counter. There is just no security at all,” Assistant State’s Attorney Perry Rudman told the committee.

Rudman said there is no sound barrier separating those who come in and the front desk secretaries who regularly field phone calls where they discuss case-sensitive material including evidence, arguments and arrests.

At a previous meeting, State’s Attorney Jason Helland claimed information was being leaked from the office because of the lack of security measures.

“I strongly suggest every one go take a look at this, because it truly is dysfunctional,” Chairman John Roth told the committee.

Rudman asked the committee to allot $5,000 so the state’s attorney’s office could hire an engineer to draft plans to secure the space by adding locks to the doors and security glass at the front desk.

The committee took no action on the request, but plans to discuss the issue more next month.

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