POINT PLEASANT — Security at the Mason County Courthouse is still being discussed and as noted months ago when new measures were put into effect, this will be an ongoing process.
After yesterday’s regular meeting of the Mason County Commission concluded, County Clerk Diana Cromley reported while attending a meeting of the West Virginia Association of Counties, those present sat in on a presentation by Capitol Police about security at government buildings. Part of the presentation was watching a film on how to react in crisis situations. Commissioner Miles Epling suggested having a screening of the film with local office holders.
Cromley said one of the big concerns she has is about some of the offices at the courthouse having no exits and what sort of contingency plan could be put in place should an emergency occur and employees be unable to exit until it was safe. Commission President Rick Handley agreed more of a plan needed to be in place. The courthouse already has tightened security by eliminating multiple entrances and exits, into and out of, the courthouse - the public an only enter and exit through the first floor, Main Street door. All those who enter are subject to walking through a metal detector.
This security detail is not cheap, it’s estimated it costs the county around $35,000 a year to operate just one security checkpoint. Security detail for the courthouse is overseen by the Office of Home Confinement which is an arm of the sheriff’s department. Again, this discussion on security was informal and after the meeting adjourned. No action was taken.
In other commission news, during the meeting:
Commissioners were presented with a letter from the City of Point Pleasant asking if the county could contribute any funds to its current, federally mandated flood wall maintenance project.
Handley announced Miss Battle Days Lauren Roush, will be representing Mason County in the state parade celebrating West Virginia’s 150th birthday.
Cromley presented the commission with a free banner produced by the WV Association of Counties as well as the sesquicentennial group celebrating the state’s birthday. All 55 counties received one of the commemorative banners.
Cromley also spoke about a book detailing West Virginia’s 55 courthouses. The book, called “Living Monuments: The Courthouse” was recently published and supported by the WV Association of Counties. Three pages are dedicated to the Mason County Courthouse. The book has a launch planned for Saturday at Taylor Books in Charleston and Cromley said one of the books was purchased for use in her office and can be used to compliment records dealing with genealogy. For information on purchasing the books, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-346-0591.
County Administrator John Gerlach spoke about visiting the 4-H camp in Southside earlier in the day and complimented the leaders, volunteers and youth who are part of not only the camp, but the 4-H program. Handley also noted prior to last week’s impending storm, he was made aware the 4-H camp and its staff already have a safety plan in place for emergency weather events.
Attending this week’s meeting were Commissioners Handley, Epling and Tracy Doolittle, as well as, Cromley and Gerlach.