Additional courthouse security officers sought

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

At today’s Curry County Commission meeting, County Manager Lance Pyle is expected to ask commissioners to hire two new security officers for the courthouse.

If granted, the added officers would cost almost $95,000 and bring the number of courthouse security personnel up to three.

The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Clovis-Carver Public Library’s North Annex.

Pyle said the state will pay for $23,500 of one of the officer’s salary and benefits. The roughly 6,500 difference between the county’s budget and the state’s share will come from the sheriff’s office budget.

In a memo to commissioners Aug. 28, Pyle said the county has less than $65,000 remaining in its budget for courthouse security.

One sheriff’s deputy is dedicated to the courthouse now. The proposed additions would include one certified and one non-certified officer.

At the county’s last commission meeting, Chief District Judge Teddy Hartley asked for three additional deputies to secure his courtrooms, citing statute requiring the county commission and sheriff’s office to provide the courts with security.

Commissioners had said at that time the matter was being reviewed by committee.

Pyle said the new positions were needed to facilitate the security changes at the courthouse.

“To implement the steps that the county commission has previously adopted pertaining to the courthouse security, these additional positions are needed,” he said.

In a second memo to commissioners, Pyle said implementation of courthouse security changes is planned to begin Sept. 21.

Pyle is expected to ask commissioners to approve an eight-point security plan that will involve: closing all but the south entrance to the building, where a security checkpoint will be installed; new locks on entrances; an electronic entry door on the rear entrance to the courthouse; installing four new cameras at the ground level entrance; installing panic alarm bars on all unused exits; and making adjustments to the entrances around the juvenile detention center and sheriff’s office.

Several of the items are still being priced, and Pyle said in his memo the project is not expected to be completed until the end of the year.

Commissioners are also expected to:

• Vote on an agreement for Global Spectrum to manage the Special Events Center.

• Hear an update on tuberculosis testing and the outcome of testing at the Curry County Adult Detention Center.

• Tour the adult and juvenile detention centers.