Lincolnton fares better than many communities in its relatively safe downtown environment. We are not known for crime and violence on our city streets. But we have long recognized security problems in our courthouse and this week the Lincoln County commissioners have finally moved forward to address them. The adoption of modern security measures is long overdue. In fact, many officials believe that persons armed with weapons have been moving freely through the courthouse offices because there is no screening procedure. We are lucky that no violence has erupted in the corridors and backrooms of a facility that often harbors violent criminals.
Earlier this year we reported how a man who chased his wife down in a car and reportedly fired shots at her near the post office had first entered the courthouse seeking her whereabouts. Officials say he probably did have the firearm with him when he entered the courthouse.
Architect Dennis Williams has submitted a list of procedures that need to be adopted. The commissioners have approved an initial expenditure of $65,000 that will begin implementing those safeguards. The first move for the county will be purchasing and installing 68 panic buttons that will be located near staff members and judicial officials. When activated, the buttons will alert law enforcement stationed in the building. The county also plans to construct a security station in the central rotunda area, which will be equipped with a direct alarm connection to the communications center. Cameras will be installed at various locations in the courthouse to provide for monitoring.
We urge the commissioners to proceed expeditiously with these upgrades, which not only protect the public but provide safeguards for county staff and law enforcement personnel.