Yet another step toward ensuring court security was taken last week, as the Sampson County Board of Commissioners awarded a bid for courthouse security monitoring equipment.
The bid was awarded to low bidder Hi-Tech Enterprises Inc. in the amount of $155,806.40. The board’s unanimous approval came as part of the consent agenda, with no discussion, during its regular meeting last week.
The county’s Information Technology director, Chris Rayner, said two responses were received from a request for proposals for security equipment for the Sampson County main courthouse, court annex and court extension.
“These additional security components include video surveillance cameras and monitoring equipment, proximity door readers, installation and software,” Rayner noted.
A review panel consisting of Rayner, county manager Ed Causey, assistant county manager Susan Holder and finance officer David Clack recommended the bid by Hi-Tech Enterprises. Security IP Solutions Inc. also submitted a bid, in the amount of $178,864.15.
Starting April 1, manned walk-through metal detectors were put in place in each of the three local court facilities, the main courthouse, the extension and the annex down the street. That was done in response to a mandate at the beginning of this year by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Doug Parsons, who along with other court officials, noted inadequacies — and specific lapses — in courtroom security that were well-known by decision-makers for years.
Parsons stated that security in all three facilities was “totally lacking and inadequate, thereby potentially endangering all individuals in each courtroom.” He ordered that manned metal detectors be used to screen each individual entering the three facilities by April 1, and functioning panic buttons be installed at judge’s benches within the four courtrooms at those three locations by June 1.
In response to that order, the Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed in February to fund five deputy positions and two security officers at a cost of $121,895 for the remainder of the 2013-14 budget starting April 1. Facility improvements and security equipment were budgeted at an additional $265,000 for the rest of the year.
With the seven new personnel already added, the larger chunk of funding needed for facility improvements and security costs have now been addressed through the bid award, which will mean cameras and card access readers at all three courthouse locations, as well as the establishment of a command area.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.