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Discussion centers on security in Harrison County courtrooms

December 6, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

CADIZ - Harrison County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Washington met in emergency executive session with the county commissioners Wednesday to resolve security issues in the county courtrooms.

Following the executive session, commissioners appropriated $15,000 into capital improvement funds to purchase the recommended security equipment for the courthouse.

"We are going to get two metal detectors for the courtroom entrances for security purposes," said Don Bethel. "Obviously because it would cause a security problem, there are certain aspects that we do not want to make public. The Harrison County Courthouse will install two new walk-through metal detectors for added security in the courtrooms."

"One we don't have, and the other we have is what it is," Washington stated.

The board stated there are no plans to utilize a single entrance to the courthouse and believes this solution would provide adequate security for courtrooms.

Harrison County Common Pleas Judge Michael Nunner had been in front of the board earlier in the meeting requesting additional appropriations due to the high volume of court cases and jury trials in the county.

Additional appropriations were $2,000 into salaries, $1,200 into juror fees, $600 in foreign judges, $700 in PERS and a transfer of $880.50 transferred from the workers' compensation fund.

The board approved a contract with Frontier Communications to upgrade the county courthouse telephone system.

"It is approximately a $29,000 contract. It is a five-year contract and they can not increase our rate for five years, and if we go with them, we are saving right around $500 a month, which is $6,000 a year, which means that for five years they are actually paying us $1,000." Bethel stated. "So it is a no-brainer."

The current phone system was installed in 1993. The new system will coordinate with the sheriff's department and connect with the prosecutor's office. The system is expandable and upgradable, and it will include new telephone and adds caller ID and call recording to the system.

The commissioners signed an agreement with Paul Seimer of Property ROW, right-of-way contractor for American Electric Power, requesting access to a pole line that will run from E. Fourth Street back to the the Conotton Trail in Scio.

According to Seimer, the upgrade in part is an improvement of the power grid to support the M3 Midstream hub complex under construction just northwest of the village, and AEP is willing to pay $1,000 to the Conotton Trail for access.

"Is that $1,000 donation specified in the agreement in addition to AEP covering damages," asked Commissioner Barbara Pincola.

"Yes. AEP will be responsible for all damages and restoration back to original condition." stated Seimer.

According to Seimer, the project is moving fast and the work on that line should be done by late January.

Doug Crabtree of the county engineer's office announced that Malernee Road will be closed from Dec. 12 until 3:30 p.m. on Dec.13 for culvert replacement.

Crabtree also explained the appropriation request for Harrison County Ambulance would be used to purchase 11 new radios and reprogram the remainder of the county's 300 pieces. He said the radios being replaced were not narrow band capable and therefore did not meet current state requirements.

The current commissioners, along with commissioner-elect Dale Norris, will meet with department heads next Thursday and Friday for 2013 budget hearings.

In other business, commissioners:

Approving transfer requests for the following departments: sheriff, public defender, juvenile court, veterans, board of elections and rural transit.

Approved the county developmental disabilities board's recommendation to appoint Janice Hensley and David Coe to additional four-year terms.

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