Court employees disappointed with security decision

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Court employees are disappointed by the Moffat County Commissioners' decision not to boost security at the courts.

The commissioners signed a letter Tuesday to 14th Judicial District Judge Michael O'Hara rejecting his request for entry-level screening at the Moffat County combined courts.

Entry-level screening would include a metal detector and an armed Sheriff's Deputy to monitor it.

When O'Hara made the request in April, he said he could force the commissioners to improve security, but did not want to do that.

O'Hara said earlier this week he planned to reply to the commissioners, but did not say whether he would take any further action.

The commissioners cited financial constraints and their belief that the courts were reasonably secure as reasons for rejecting the proposal.

District Attorney Bonnie Roesink said she understood the commissioners' financial concerns, but the decision was disappointing nonetheless.

Roesink works at the Routt and Grand County courts as well as Moffat County. Routt and Grand have entry-level screening.

"I hoped we would see the same security here," Roesink said.

If court employees want additional security for a specific case, they can ask the county to provide deputies, but Roesink said it is hard to predict which cases could result in someone becoming violent.

A defendant's wife once attacked Roesink while she left court. The defendant pulled the attacker away from Roesink, but Roesink said it was an example of an unexpected violent incident at the court.

Diana Meyer, clerk of the Moffat County combined courts, expressed disappointment in the commissioners' decision, as well.

Meyer said she doesn't always feel safe because courts can be a dangerous place to work.

"We deal with a lot of angry and irrational people," she said.

Meyer's counterpart in Routt County, Tracey Epley, said the metal detector and armed guard at the Routt County courthouse make her feel safe.

"I feel as safe as anybody can," Epley said.

Epley said she understands improving security could be expensive, but she said it is a necessary step for all courthouses.

"I don't see why we would be any different from Moffat County," she said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com

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