Before it becomes a mandate from a judge, Macon County commissioners are looking to make improvements to security at the courthouse.
The start of business Thursday, Dec. 10, will mean the coming-to-order of five different court sessions in Jackson County, a giant figure for a county with only two actual courtrooms at its disposal. To meet demand, courts will be squirreled away wherever there’s space — in the commissioners’ boardroom, in the county law library, in the old courtroom that’s now the community room of the Jackson County Library.
Starting Sept. 28, employees and visitors to the Jackson County Justice and Administration Building will no longer have their choice of doors through which to reach their destination. Instead, the building will become a one-entrance-only building, with a security guard and metal detector stationed at the door.
Swain County commissioners know they need to address security concerns at the county administrative building in Bryson City, but they are still torn on whether they need to secure the entire building or just the courtrooms.
Security upgrades are on the way at the Jackson County Justice Center, but commissioners have decided to hold off on any expansion of the lobby area — at least for now.
Call it a foyer, an atrium, a lobby, a cattle call — an addition is being planned for the Jackson County Justice Center to house metal detectors and lines of people waiting to pass through each morning.
The exploration of inadequacies at the Jackson County Justice Center has been years in the making, but it’s looking like — for now, at least — the solution will focus on ramping up security and leave the issue of space for another time.
“There’s two issues I want to bring to your attention, issues I’ve been bringing to your attention for the last 10 years,” Superior Court Judge Bradley Letts told commissioners at their annual planning retreat last week.
Late last month, Superior Court Judge Bradley Letts wrote a letter. “He kind of drew a line in the sand,” said Jackson County Manager Chuck Wooten.
The U.S. Forest Service is planning to install a gate on Wine Spring Road near Franklin after communications equipment housed less than a mile up the road at Wine Spring Gap was repeatedly stolen and vandalized. Damage has totaled $20,000 in losses, and one of the victims, Macon County Emergency Services, requested that the Forest Service do something about it.
Vandalism is apparently still a problem in Sylva public parks.It’s a problem that cost the town about ten grand last year to install four security cameras as a deterrent. But it wasn’t enough to do the trick, so town leaders will spend another $13,400 on more cameras this year.