Brown County judges order for more security measures in courthouse

ABERDEEN, S.D. The Brown County Courthouse has been busy updating security measures over the last year. Today, commissioners approved hiring new courtroom officers.

Brown County 5th Circuit Judges ordered the county to provide a secure courthouse.

"They would request us when we had high profile cases, but now it's deemed where they want to make sure all courtrooms, all people are run through security before they enter the courtrooms," Brown County Sheriff Mark Milbrandt said.

This includes hiring two full-time certified law enforcement officers and one part-time uncertified officer. Those positions would have to use part-timers already on the payroll to fill in, too. Hiring the new positions will cost between $172,000-180,000.

A scanner and x-ray machine are also being added for people going into the courtroom side.

"We're gonna try to divide that off on the second floor so we don't interrupt everyone going to the clerk of courts paying fines and whatever their business there is," Brown County Commission Chairperson Doug Fjeldheim said.

Brown County Sheriff's Officers are already trained on that equipment, it's just getting used to utilizing it more often.

Another security upgrade will deal with the elevators that go up into the courtrooms on the third floor. Reprogramming the elevator to stop on the second floor so everyone can go through security will cost around $4,500-5,000.

Commissioners aren't sure this much security is needed at the Brown County Courthouse, but they're trying to find where the money will come from.

"It's not just this year, that's going to be an ongoing budgetary for every year and unfortunately some of our departments for this year budget may have to suffer," Fjeldheim said. "The commission is not in favor of raising taxpayer dollars to do this."

The Brown County Judges want the security measures in place by February 5th. Commissioners hope they'll get some leeway on that date as the officer hiring process begins.