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Increased security measures planned for HC courthouse

A recent incident at the Harrison County Court House has county leaders looking to update security measures. The improvements include possibly replacing old security cameras and adding more security officers at the building.
The issue was discussed yesterday morning (Tuesday) at the scheduled Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting, which was moved from Monday due to Labor Day, but did not provide many details about what happened roughly two weeks ago at the courthouse in downtown Corydon.
According to the commissioners, a woman had approached a counter and did something that warranted security.
Commissioner Charlie Crawford and David Neel, Cybertek Engineering’s chief information officer, got involved because video of the incident was requested.
Cameras at the courthouse were put in place around 2001, Neel said. The analog system provides no audio on a recording system, and the video quality for today’s standards is very low, he said.
‘It’s of no value what we have up there,’ Crawford said.
Neel said this was the third time he’s been asked to pull video from an incident. Each time is difficult to get the aging equipment to cooperate, and the quality is so low that it doesn’t really help police.
Neel has suggested the county replace the cameras with high-definition ones and a digital video recorder to help law enforcement if another incident arises.
The commissioners approved a decision to let Security Pros come up with a plan for installing the equipment and the cost. Replacing the old equipment would need approval from the Harrison County Council.
The cameras would cover all the public areas of the courthouse, including the outside. They also would have a motion sensor that would activate the recording function.
The county’s current camera system has motion capabilities, but the incident at the courthouse involved more communication than action so the censor never kicked on.
The commissioners also are getting ready to talk to Harrison County Clerk Sherry Brown about additional security at the courthouse.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman said Brown is asking for more security on certain days but added the commissioners need to know how many days and the hours so they can better calculate the cost to the county.
Neel was at yesterday’s meeting to talk about the county’s network system, which just lost its third switch.
A network switch helps connect devices together over the county government’s network. The loss of the device could cause data to be lost.
The commissioners unanimously voted to send a request of no more than $36,975 to the council to put in new switches.
In other county business, the fiber project to put high-speed internet throughout the county is complete.
Project manager George Ethridge said yesterday’s project update would be his last and next month he will give a project close-out, detailing what all was done on the $5 million project.
Ethridge said while the project called for 115 miles of fiber to run through the county, the money worked out to allow Mainstream crews to run 122 miles.
‘When we first began this project, I really had my doubts we would be able to bring it as far as we were hoping, and we’ve exceeded that,’ Ethridge said.
Some of the additional footage is going in northwest Harrison County, where fiber at Frenchtown will run along Cardinal Drive into Depauw. More fiber will run along Milltown-Frenchtown Road, with the cable stopping at the edge of Milltown.
‘We can run it up to the outskirts of Milltown, and Mainstream has already committed to bringing it from that point, on their nickel, into Milltown and spread it out throughout town there,’ Ethridge said.
To date, about 1,000 people have signed up and have had equipment installed to be on the network.
Ethridge said he believes sign ups will increase significantly now that the work is done and advertising throughout the county has increased.
The commissioners also signed a new ordinance to ban parking on county roads. It’s an issue the Harrison County Highway Dept. has noticed recently while crews worked in a subdivision.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel said his office has gotten nearly a half-dozen calls about cars parking on the road, and the caller was afraid first responders would not be able to get to their neighborhood if an emergency happened.
The ordinance was approved unanimously, but the commissioners’ attorney, Chris Byrd, said the ordinance can’t go into effect until it’s been publicized twice.
Deputies at the Harrison County Sheriff Dept. would be responsible for enforcing the new law, which allows them to have an unattended vehicle towed. The owner of the vehicle also could be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000.
Russel also recommended the commissioners award the lowest bidders for two asphalt projects in the county.
The first calls for work to Big John Road, from S.R. 64 to Corydon-Ramsey Road, and Martin-Mathis Road, south of U.S. 150 to the end of the road, in the northern part of the county. The county received five bids, with E & B Paving coming in with a low bid of $155,746.
Three bids came in for work in the central part of the county, with C & R Construction submitting the lowest bid at $321,276.00. The work includes repaving Corydon-Ramsey Road between S.R. 337 and Quarry Road; Tee Road from Big Indian Road to the new blacktop; Big Indian Road from Pfrimmer’s Chapel Road to Corydon Ridge Road; County Line Road from Research Boulevard to Old Lanesville Road; and Browns Lane between Corydon Ridge Road and Capitol Boulevard.
The commissioners accepted Russel’s recommendations.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Friday, Sept. 14, at 8:30 a.m. The change was made from the third Monday.