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County appoints security council

By Rachel McDaniel Security was a top issue discussed by Lamar County commissioners at their Dec. 15 meeting in light of recent attacks across the country and the world. Sheriff Brad White addressed the board and was appointed as chairman of a security committee to consider changes for better securing government facilities. Commissioners gave him authority to appoint other members to the board. White noted that he and other committee members will meet with employees of various government facilities to discuss security measures and what will work best for them. It was noted that the purpose of the committee would be to make security improvement recommendations and provide estimates on the cost, as well as developing plans in case of an attack or incident at a government building. ’San Bernadino County was a small community that was attacked and they never thought it would happen to them,’ said commissioner Nancy Thrash. ’We can no longer just sit back and say nothing like that will happen here. I make a motion that we form a security committee and have the sheriff chair the committee and appoint whomever he thinks is qualified to sit on that committee. The committee can look into any concerns he may have and this board may have.’ Sheriff White suggested some of the possible upgrades to county facilities could be having front glass windows for customer interactions and door locks that make it difficult for citizens to get around the security measures, especially in offices where citizens are sometimes upset. ‘Customer service is a top priority for government agencies, but public safety needs to be a top priority as well,’ said White. ’We are not shortchanging customer service, but we need to cut down on security risks. Some of the committee’s duty would be developing a plan if something happens for the county workers to follow,’ he said. ‘A lot of the security measures we come up with are inexpensive things but they are important to have in place before something happens.’ Commissioners asked who White might appoint to the security committee and he replied that he would compile a list of local officials with a background in public safety and get it to commissioners as soon as possible. They also briefly discussed the scope of the committee’s research and suggestions. ’The security committee will certainly look at any county facility that does day-to-day business,’ said White. ‘We can also go ahead and look at all the county facilities with customer interactions.’ Chairman Charles Glass suggested the committee focus on the top three offices most likely to be threatened and when those issues are resolved, to move on to the next three.

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