Commissioners Talk Security And Renovation

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- A proposal for security at the Shawnee County courthouse and a new renovated location for the election's office are two of the major items discussed at the Shawnee County Commission meeting Monday morning.

Shawnee County Counselor Rich Eckert says the Shawnee County courthouse previously had private security overnight and weekends in the 90's and Monday commissioners discussed having private security during daytime hours.

"We talked about being understaffed and that's a good point," said Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones.

Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones told commissioners the Sheriff's department is understaffed and at risk of losing more deputies.

To prevent an increase in Shawnee County crime rates, Commissioner Bob Archer proposed an increase in security at the Shawnee County courthouse.

"The goal is to get more boots on the ground for the Sheriff's office," says Archer.

"The main thing is I just want to make sure the Sheriff's office is involved in the discussion simply because we are responsible for that," Sheriff Herman Jones.

Commissioner Shelly Beuhler was cautious of the idea and after some discussion, "if we could ask to defer this," said Commissioner Kevin Cook. Cook asked to defer action until May 5th to take more time to study the proposal.

"All in favor say 'I' opposed say 'no' motion carries 3 to 0," says Archer.

Meanwhile, Shawnee County Commissioners approved a nearly 1.7 million dollar budget to renovate a building at 3420 SW VanBuren.

"I believe this project is ready to move forward," said Rich Eckert, Shawnee County Counselor.

The project includes moving the county's election office from its location at 911 Southwest 37th Street to SW VanBuren. The move will save more than 90 thousand dollars per year in rent.

"The point is anytime we spend money like this, we need to tell the taxpayers it's a good deal and I think the bottom line is this is a good deal," says Archer.

The renovated building's elections office will be on the upper level, while the lower level will be split into three departments: emergency management, a back up server and a back up 911 call center. This decision for the renovated building came as a six month delay. They first voted on the building October 24th.