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More security updates eyed for complex

Progress in updating security at the Lincoln County-BrookhavenGovernment Complex has been slow, but a county official saidsignificant improvements should be made in 2006.

“We haven’t moved much forward on that,” said CountyAdministrator David Fields about progress so far. “Most of thechanges have been more procedural than physical.”

The county administrator said supervisors are hoping grantsapplied for through the Department of Homeland Security will fundsome of the physical improvements.

One obvious improvement that has been implemented is therelocation of the metal detector to the courtroom door, he said.The detector is manned when court is in session.

The problem with making physical changes, Fields said, isdrawing a line between security and accessibility.

“It’s a tough area in this day and time to balance how muchfreedom people have to visit public places,” he said. “We don’twant the public to be hindered from their necessary tasks, whileproviding the tightest security possible. So, you kind of have todetermine what is feasible and what is not.”

A procedural change that will eventually affect all county andcity employees was influenced by the purchase of computer softwareto produce identification badges.

Lincoln County Civil Defense is presently using that software toproduce badges for its members and volunteer firemen, Fields said.Once that is completed, it will be passed to another departmentuntil all employees have been provided badges.

Eventually, Fields said, the county will use the badges and keyswipe equipment to verify identity and log when employees enter andleave the government complex.

A project to install a video surveillance system in thegovernment complex is also inching forward, Fields said.

Video surveillance experts have toured the building to devise acoverage plan. Supervisors are waiting on those results and a costestimate before moving forward on that project, Fields said.

Some procedural changes have already boosted security in thecircuit courtroom, Fields said.

In addition to the relocation of the metal detectors, thebailiff’s chair has been relocated on the advice of securityexperts to situate him between the defendant’s table and the judge,Fields said.