TROY - The locking of doors to stairways in the Miami County Safety Building is part of continuing security upgrades that most recently have included addition of more cameras to monitor activities in and near county buildings.
Effective Friday, access to the public stairwells of the Safety Building was limited to employees who have identification key cards. The doors will open if there is a fire alarm. Visitors to the building of three floors and a basement must use one of its two elevators.
"We understand there will be some inconvenience to the public because they don't have badges, but, unfortunately, that is today's world," said county Commission President Jack Evans.
A $72,000 grant from the county's federal Weapons of Mass Destruction/Terrorism grant, part of Homeland Security programs, was used to allow locking of more interior building doors and add cameras to help provide added employee and visitor security.
Last year, the county used $105,000 from the same program for door security systems and installation of video cameras at the Safety Building and Courthouse in downtown Troy.
"Security is knowing who is around," Evans said. He said elected officials believe the buildings belong to the public and want them as accessible, but also as safe, as possible.
Sheriff's Department Capt. Dave Duchak said two outdoor panning cameras were added this year on the Safety Building's east and west side. That building and the Courthouse are separated by a brick plaza.
Inside, more cameras were added in the Courthouse and on the Safety Building's third floor, where domestic relations court is held.
"If you have an incident, it is more likely to be there," Duchak said. Common Pleas Court, where felony and civil cases are heard is on the Safety Building third floor, while the Municipal Court operates from the Courthouse.
Cameras and more door security were added at the county Communication Center, home to 911 operations and the Emergency Management Agency.
Duchak said locked doors on stairwells would confine the offender to the floor of their actions unless they take the elevators. In many cases where violence has occurred in a courthouse setting the offender has headed to a stairwell, not waited for an elevator, he said.