No changes to court security
An armed deputy and metal detector will not be added to the Moffat County courts, county commissioners said Tuesday.
District Judge Michael O’Hara asked the commissioners in April to provide the county courts with a full-time, certified sheriff’s deputy and metal detector.
At the time, Commissioner Tom Gray said he would look into the matter to find out what security measures other county courts have taken and whether Moffat County could afford a full-time deputy for the courts.
The commissioners signed a letter to O’Hara at Tuesday’s meeting that stated they think the Moffat County courts have adequate security compared with other counties.
Colorado law requires counties to provide reasonable security for courtrooms.
Gray said after the meeting that the reason for rejecting O’Hara’s request was two-fold.
First, the commissioners think additional security would be too costly, and, second, they think the county courts meet the state’s “reasonable security” requirement.
Gray said during the meeting that he understood O’Hara’s concerns.
“When somebody has a concern of any kind, it’s real,” Gray said.
Commissioner Saed Tayyara said the commissioners always should pay attention to security concerns.
“We owe it to everyone to address (security concerns),” Tayyara said.
But, Gray said, Moffat County courts have the same amount of security or more security than 10 of the 15 counties surveyed.
Offices in the courthouse are equipped with panic buttons, and additional security is provided if court employees request it.
Counties that had more security than Moffat had security guards and metal detectors.
The counties surveyed were in the same Colorado Counties Incorporated category as Moffat County. The classification is based on characteristics including population, assessed valuation and building permits.
Routt County and Grand County were not surveyed, because commissioners already knew what security measures were in place there. Both counties have more security than Moffat County.
Counties surveyed also were asked whether they felt pressure to improve their security. Otero, Montrose, Archuleta and Las Animas counties all answered yes.
Judge O’Hara could not be reached for comment.
Brandon Johansson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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