Brown County ready to upgrade courthouse security

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BROWN COUNTY, S.D. Keeping employees and visitors safe in the Brown County buildings is important to commissioners, and those in Aberdeen are ready to upgrade security to ensure that safety.

The process towards getting the upgrades started about one year ago after a mandate came down from the state to make the Brown County Treasurer's Office part of their debt collection process. Right now, anyone who owes the state money can't get their car tags after renewing because the building's security doesn't meet minimum standards to provide that service.

Visitors are still able to pay sales tax at the office, but not having the ability to access all types of services if someone owes the state money was making quite a few people angry.

Adding new security features to the building will allow the county to provide those additional services and alleviate some of the frustration.

The additions are as follows:

1. Bulletproof glass installed at the treasurer's, auditor's, assessor's and register of deed's offices.

2. Shelving to make the counter tops extended with a table ledge so people still have space to write.

3. Putting in key-less fobs on the doors so that employees are the only ones with access to the offices in the building.

"Besides safety, it's accountability. We know who's where in the building, so if something happens we can easily bring up a report of who's in the building and who's not," explains Paul Sivertsen, the Brown County Chief Information Officer and part of the process for putting the in key fobs.

The security upgrades are one way to keep employees a little more safe and commissioners think the taxpayers won't mind if the people helping them out have a little more security.

"We had a couple random shootings in Aberdeen last year where we never found the culprits. It's still a great place to live, but you can never be too safe and this is just going to go a long ways to make sure people feel secure when they come to work for Brown County," says Rachel Kippley, Brown County Commission Chair.

The security upgrades on the Brown County Courthouse have to happen by November 1, 2017 to comply with the Homeland Security Grant being used to pay for a majority of the changes.