Marion County Commission Enhances Courthouse Security - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Marion County Commission Enhances Courthouse Security

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FAIRMONT -

The Marion County Commission has discussed increasing security of the courthouse for two years.

Now, it is making those plans a reality.

Commissioner Butch Tennant said several incidents at the courthouse left the commission concerned about security.

"We felt with some of the things that have been going on around the country and we did have a couple of small incidents here, nothing major, some of the elected officials and employees felt we needed more security here," said Commissioner Butch Tennant.

One of those incidents happened last August, when Robert Shaver, 34 of Fairmont, stormed into the courthouse with plastic guns and pretended to shoot people.

"We had an incident with a man with a toy gun and it kind of upset some people so we thought we better take care of things," Commissioner Tennant said.

There are currently 11 ways to access the Marion County Courthouse.

Over the past couple of weeks, alarms have been placed on some of the courthouse doors.

As of January 2, the alarms are going to be activated and only three doors will be available for use.

The only ways residents can access the courthouse will be through the first floor of the J. Harper Building, the second floor Magistrate entrance, and the bus stop side of the Courthouse.

In addition to the alarms on doors, the Marion County Sheriff's Department has hired two additional deputies to roam the courthouse during business hours.

"Having security officers in the building is a good thing," said Marion County Judge Michael Aloi. "It's a presence, people see it, it causes the people that work here to feel safer."

Workers have installed additional cameras and panic buttons, and the Commission is working to add a security glass to the Assessors office.

"I kind of pulled my employees as to whether or not they would like the glass there and some were interested, some were not," said Marion County Assessor Jim Priester. "But for the most part, the folks who work the counter would like the glass in place there."

Commissioner Tennant said the commission wants to avoid a total lock down, but that small steps need to be taken to make the courthouse a safer place.