Boone County, Ark., leaders looking to make some security updates to courthouse


Boone County leaders said nothing dangerous has happened at the courthouse, but they don’t want to take any chances.

“For the safety and security of everybody that uses the courthouse and everybody that works here, we need to make sure we cross all our t’s and dot all our i’s,” said Boone County Justice of the Peace Fred Woehl, who is also the road and building committee chairperson.

Recently the county received a state grant to get extra security cameras.

“We’re looking at maybe eight-to-ten cameras on the outside of the building,” said Boone County Judge Robert Hathaway.

But the judge said even with those, it only helps after a crime has already happened.

“That’ll also be protection for our monuments, and our gazebos and things like that,” Hathaway said.

They’d like to do even more, but that is easier said than done.

The judge said the courthouse is historic and more than 100 years old. Because of that it’s difficult to make any changes to the actual building.

“It is so old that instead of U’s they use V’s,” Woehl said.

The judge said he spoke with Troy Burleson, a security consultant.

Burleson said the main thing people want is somebody there to protect them.

“So we’re looking at maybe putting a security guard that would be shared between this building and the old federal building, so people have direct access to that person,” Burleson said.

Harrison police is right around the corner, and bailiffs are sometimes in the building.

“But their priority is to the judge and to the prisoners, and if something were to happen downstairs, they wouldn’t be free to go down,” Burleson said.

And they want to make sure county employees are protected.

“There are sometimes people come in before court that are part of the court system that maybe gets us a little problem downstairs, and we’d like to address that for the people who work down there,” Burleson said.

The county judge said he hopes to have the new security cameras up in the very near future. He also said he’d like to have a security guard at the courthouse starting at the beginning of next year if possible.

Woehl added that elected officials are the ones taking money from their budget that would go toward these extra security measures, and it wouldn’t come at an extra cost to the county.

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