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Published: Wednesday, 7/11/2001

Monroe County board OKs courthouse security upgrade

MONROE - Monroe County commissioners last night approved a $170,000 plan that will limit the number of entrances available to the public at the county courthouse and provide for security screening of those entering the historic building.

Commissioners voted 7-2 to spend the money to purchase a walk-through metal detector and X-ray device as well as private security guards to operate the machines at the entrance to the courthouse annex. The front entrance of the historic portion of the courthouse, which dates from 1880, will be closed once the security plan is fully implemented, county officials said.

Commissioners David Scott and V. Lehr Roe opposed the security plan, while other commissioners sought unsuccessfully to amend its provisions by replacing the private security guards with sworn deputies.

The security changes are expected to go into full effect this year. A second phase providing for a closed-circuit television system, among other things, will be built into next year's budget.

In other action, the commission's finance committee heard a proposal from a local realtor that the county buy the Heath Beach recreation area off U.S. 23 in Milan Township. The facility is on the market for $1.9 million, but commissioners took no action, referring the proposal to their physical resources committee for study.

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