Council considers moving circuit court to justice center
Security at the Pulaski County Courthouse has been a topic of discussion for public officials during the past couple of years but little has been done to address the issue.
What has been done involves a lot of ideas of how the courthouse could be better secured but those ideas haven’t been addressed with action.
At one point a committee was established to discuss how the courthouse can be secured and the ideas of the committee were presented to the Pulaski County commissioners and council members. Although members of both entities agree that security is an issue, finding the funding for a security project has not been budgeted.
Most recently, Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine spoke up about the security of the courthouse and the safety of officers and inmates. During a county council meeting on Feb. 12, Richwine said moving circuit court to the justice center would solve a number of problems the jail staff is dealing with. In the past, Richwine has voiced his support in trying to better secure the courthouse but he hasn’t made suggestions about moving the offices.
He would like for the commissioners to review moving the circuit court to the justice center. He believes there is more than enough space to house both courts with some moving of offices.
When an inmate has a hearing in superior court, he or she is moved to the elevator in the justice center that is secured away from the public to a holding cell. When the inmate’s hearing is to begin, he or she is moved into the courtroom. When the hearing is over the subject is moved back to their cell.
Commissioner Mike McClure said he has visited the justice center and believes there is plenty of room for both courts and possibly the clerk’s office.
McClure said circuit court could be moved to where the probation department is. Probation could then be moved to where the dispatch center is on the first floor of the justice center. Dispatch could be moved to the basement and would be more secure in the case of a tornado.
Council president Jay Sullivan suggested that the commissioners talk with maintenance director Jeff Johnston to see if something can be planned.