Archive for Thursday, June 3, 1993


June 3, 1993


The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday decided to postpone fortifying security measures at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center until at least 1994.

County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he would put together cost estimates for the proposed options in time for budget hearings later this summer.

"By not doing anything (tonight), you're in effect not doing anything in 1993," he told commissioners at the end of a brief, general discussion.

"I think we're all interested in looking for options in the 1994 budget," Commissioner Mark Buhler replied.

Spending $1,700 of his department's budget, Douglas County Dist. Atty. Jerry Wells has installed bullet-proof glass in the entryway of his office.

The judicial building, 111 E. 11th, houses his office, four district court divisions, municipal court, the county jail, and the sheriff and police departments.

Electricians will finish a switch-controlled door, much like those at security apartment complexes, sometime this week, Wells said. Receptionists will be able to "buzz in" people who have business inside the district attorney's office.

Wells said the office routinely received threats.

"The thing you have to remember is most of the people we deal with are witnesses, victims and defendants. They're not happy when they come in here.

"I've certainly thought about it for at least a year because the general nature of the criminal process has been changing," he said. "It seems like we have more and more violent crime."

He said commissioners must balance the public's right to easy access with the right to feel safe.

"What made up my mind was the incident in the courtroom" on April 22 when a defendant unsuccessfully reached for a concealed pistol, Wells said.

The measures Wells has taken at his office fall short of ensuring public safety throughout the building, he said.

"I've always been an advocate of metal detectors at the door because it's the only way to make sure," he said.

Among the other options:

-- Designating one entrance for public access and posting a guard and electronic devices there to screen for weapons.

-- Hiring more deputies to be posted in each courtroom.

-- Hiring at least one roving deputy whose primary responsibility would be building security.

ALSO ON Wednesday, commissioners unanimously approved:

@sc7.5: -- A charter resolution allowing commissioners to meet at different times and places within the county. Commissioners did not realize that they were violating state law whenever they canceled one of the two weekly meetings or chose to meet in other cities, such as Eudora.

-- An annexation request from Craig V. Wright. The tract, which would be annexed into Lawrence city limits, is on the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Folks Road. The Lawrence City Commission had asked the county to review whether the annexation would hinder or prevent proper growth in the county.

-- A request for a second dam in the Tauy Creek Watershed District No. 82.

-- Appointments for the 1993-94 Emergency Planning and Preparedness Board. The commission officially nominated the board to the state Emergency Response Commission as the local emergency planning committee.

-- A bid from Vegetation Management Supply, Wichita, for 200 gallons of a chemical that kills noxious weeds.

Commissioners deferred publishing a notice for a public hearing to be held June 16 regarding the enlargement of Yankee Tank Sewer District No. 3.

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