Secure entrance eyed for Clallam County courthouse

Grant would pay 70 percent of upgrade

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Superior Court is seeking a state grant for a walk-thru security screening device and two full-time armed security officers to create a secure single entry point for the Clallam County Courthouse.

“The walk-thru metal detector is planned for the front entry on the first floor,” Don Wenzl, Clallam County Chief Corrections Deputy, wrote in an email. “The direction we are heading is a single-point entry for the entire courthouse on the first floor, similar to other courthouses.

“This would require everyone entering the courthouse to go through this security point to access any of the three floors. Jefferson County and Kitsap also have single-point entries for their facilities, as well as Grays Harbor.”

Lacey Halberg, Clallam County Superior Court Administrator, told the three commissioners at their July 31 work session that there is a one-time application and they can reapply for additional funding.

The total estimated equipment cost is $228,000 and the grant offers up to 70 percent, which is $160,000, she said.

The two security officers can’t be courthouse employees, so it has to be an outside agency, outside armed officers, Halberg said.

County Commissioner Mike French asked if the two guards would be added to the county’s existing security guard contract with Norpoint Services.

Halberg said the grant would fund whatever approach they choose, which in this case appears to be Norpoint guards.

“There will be some new details in the next contract amendment (with Norpoint Services),” Wenzl said. “Part of the agreement with the metal detector is we have to have two armed guards. This grant is renewable, so if we need to adjust, we can reapply and request that amount.

“We are one of the last courthouses to have single point entry. So single-point entry is something we have done that all the other courthouses are doing in the state.”

Commissioner Randy Johnson asked about a potential line outdoors that may be exposed to the elements, including rain.

Tom Reyes, human resources deputy director, said that would be part of a budget request as Superior Court looks toward 2024.

“We can put money in there to bring in an architect or consultant to look at that and evaluate what our options are and what those costs might be,” Reyes said.

Commissioner Mark Ozias said, “This is a pretty substantive evolution in our thinking about a really important function. So I want to be sure that, when we do get the (Request for Proposal) put together, that we’ve got time to get it right.”

“I think everybody will be excited to have a security improvement at the courthouse, but they might not be ready for it,” Commissioner Mike French said.

Wenzl said public outreach would be done on the coming change.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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