County, State Differ On Court Security

LAKEPORT, Calif. — State officials have indicated they will not place screening equipment on the fourth floor of the Lake County Courthouse even though the county sheriff said the facility’s current screening procedures are not stringent enough.
Sheriff Frank Rivero asked the Board of Supervisors in February to either screen every individual who entered the courthouse or to move the building?s screening equipment to the fourth floor, where the court?s Lakeport division is housed.
Rivero said the courthouse is unsafe because employees can enter and exit the area without being screened and several side doors are not monitored.
But the Judicial Council of California?s Administrative Office of the Courts told Rivero in a report recently that the screening equipment could not be moved due to building codes that preclude a redesign of the screening system, as well as to a lack of space.
Screening began at the courthouse in 2008.
Rivero, who is responsible for the building’s security, asked that he be absolved of the responsibility if the state will not approve additional safety procedures. The state, however, indicated it will consider other options to increase security in the building.
District Attorney Don Anderson agreed that the layout makes securing the 1960s-era courthouse difficult, but added that move the screening equipment to the fourth floor – and blocking an elevator in the process – would conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Rivero said he is arranging meetings with the county administrative officer and the heads of the public services and community development agencies to discuss alternative options, and has assigned a lieutenant to study the issue.
A new, fully-secured courthouse is slated to open in Lakeport in mid-2014. Construction will begin next year.

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