Sheriff calls for security checkpoints at court, safety buildings

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak wants to place security checkpoints at the Miami County Courthouse and Safety Building. In this file photo, bailiffs’ move prisoners from the Sheriffs jail to the old Miami County Courthouse on their way to Municipal Court in Troy.

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Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak wants to place security checkpoints at the Miami County Courthouse and Safety Building. In this file photo, bailiffs’ move prisoners from the Sheriffs jail to the old Miami County Courthouse on their way to Municipal Court in Troy.

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak asked county commissioners to take a serious look at placing security checkpoints at the entrances to the Miami County Courthouse and Safety Building that could cost more than $250,000 annually.

“We are seeing a more coarsened and disparate clientele coming into both buildings,” Duchak said. He and staff are often approached by employees and others with security concerns, the sheriff said at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

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The county is one of the few left in the area without some form of security at building entrances, he said.

Duchak, who was elected sheriff in November, gave commissioners preliminary rough cost estimates for staffing checkpoints, and asked they consider forming a small committee to further explore options. The rough costs for two options discussed were more than $250,000 each per year for payroll and equipment (uniforms, firearm, Taser, ballistic vest).

“We know the costs are not cheap … and I know it is a hard decision for you guys to make,” Duchak said.

One option included using all part time deputies and the other using two full time deputies, two part time deputies and private security staffing. In this scenario, the security employee would not be armed.

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Each checkpoint would have two employees.

“It was Sheriff Cox’s position and my position that the buildings should be locked down,” Duchak said of discussions he held with former Sheriff Charles Cox when Duchak was chief deputy the past few years.

The office has two walk through metal detectors that would need recalibrated when moved. Duchak said he would not recommend having X-ray machines. Those entering the building would have bags searched by hand and would walk through the metal detector.

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Commission President Jack Evans said the numbers and information provided was “a place to start.” He said it was unfortunate the county’s courts are not all located in one building. The municipal court is in the Courthouse while the Safety Building, located across a small plaza from the Courthouse, houses juvenile/probate and common pleas courts.

Commissioner Greg Simmons asked Duchak if he had any numbers on costs to other area counties and how their security is set up. That information could be collected by the committee, Duchak said.

Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said he would like to hear more detail on the proposal, adding “These are rudimentary numbers.”

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