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County to upgrade court security

SHERIDAN — The Board of County Commissioners considered its annual round of Homeland Security grants at its meeting Tuesday, approving three separate grant awards for a total of $68,281.53. The Homeland Security grant program began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to enable municipalities to update safety and communications systems.

Sheridan County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said the first round of grants after 9/11 was more than $300,000. The county primarily used that money to update radios and communications systems. In the past four years, the county has focused on courthouse security.

“The last piece is to secure the clerk of district court office, which is on the third floor of the new addition,” Obermueller said. “Right now, they have an open office, and because of the close proximity to the judge’s suites, we really feel it’s important to try to put some type of a protective barrier to separate the public from that office but still be friendly and user-friendly.”

County Commissioners approved a National Preparedness Goal grant of $56,396.71 that will be used improve security in the clerk of 4th Judicial District Court office, which will include the addition of a computer in the outside public area so people can access available records without using clerk staff computer systems to search records, Obermueller said.

The commissioners approved a grant for law enforcement and terrorism prevention-oriented activities for $9,129.32 that is typically allocated to the county sheriff’s office for the purchase of safety equipment.

“Their protection vests only have a certain shelf life, so we use that to upgrade their vests, tasers, radios.

Again, the sheriff, I’m certain, has many needs, and he’ll take a look at what those are and use the funds accordingly,” Obermueller said.

The third Homeland Security grant approved by County Commissioners will support security systems for the county coroner. The grant award is $2,755.50, and it is often used for computers, radios, GPS systems and other equipment. If the coroner doesn’t need any safety equipment, that grant can be moved to another area of the county, Obermueller said.

In other business:

• Commissioners approved an agreement with RidgePoint Consulting for project development and contract administration in the amount of $20,120. RidgePoint Consulting will provide preliminary and final design, bidding and negotiation and construction supervision on an 8-mile chip sealing project on Swaim, Knode, Metz, Paradise Park and Downer Addition roads to be completed in fiscal year 2014.

• Commissioners reappointed Billie Little to the Sheridan County Historic Preservation Commission.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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