Weapons screening options unveiled for Government Center - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Weapons screening options unveiled for Government Center

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The face of the Olmsted County Government Center could be changing to make room for a weapons screening process.

The Olmsted County Board heard a few options on Tuesday about what the process could look like.

Right now, the process of getting into the Olmsted County Government Center and up into the courtrooms is easy. You just open the door, get on the elevator and walk to where you want or need to be, but by next year, the process could be totally different.

If the first question about weapons screening is "Does it belong at the Government Center?" the second is "Where should it go?"

"Either screening everybody on the first floor or going to the second floor and screen there if anybody wants to proceed at a higher level," said County Board Chair Matt Flynn.

Board members took a look at four major security options. Some have screening on the first floor, which would include almost everyone that enters the county side. Others options only screen for those going up to corrections, courts and attorneys offices.

"We're concerned about all of our employees and citizens, so we're concerned about, you know, we want to treat everyone equal," Flynn said. "We have to weigh what's more important in our courtrooms and security of this courthouse."

When answering those questions of "if?" and "where?" there's a lot more than simple safety that comes into consideration for the county board. How do you best use the space you have? How much do you spend?

"Anytime you do anything in government it costs money," Flynn said.

If any of these projects are approved, it's nearly $3.2 million to just over $5.7 million in construction costs, and then those security posts need to be staffed by the Sheriff's office.

Though this meeting was informational, the County Board will decide as soon as next month if it's one of these options, something else or nothing at all to add some extra security to Government Center.

"We've been studying this for two years and now we have to move forward what we want to do as a County Board," Flynn said.

If one of these plans is approved, construction could begin as early as the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015.

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