Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Blogging can be hard to do. Especially when every time you start to blog your biggest problem is selecting a topic to blog on. With all the current happenings in Washington DC and Austin that will be affecting Milam County in the future it can be difficult too chose a topic. Unless of course you do nothing but blog.

This time I am going with something a little bit closer to home. This week’s Commissioners Court meeting had an interesting topic. To open bids for surveillance of courthouse, agenda item number nine.

Courthouse security certainly should be a priority for any county. Even though we might consider our rural county atmosphere somewhat safer than other more urban areas do not fool yourself. County courthouses, especially those with minimal security, have been identified by Homeland Security groups as a target for terrorist groups.

In 2010 the Commissioners Court took action to provide for an armed bailiff to serve in the District Court courtroom. This would and still can be provided with no use of county tax dollars. The courthouse security fund that is financed by the courts through a courthouse security fee provides adequate funding for the position.

For some reason even though previously approved by the court the subject was brought before the court again by Judge Barkemeyer. For reason or reasons unknown he seems opposed to the idea, and he has had difficulty in vocalizing any specific reason that he opposes an armed constable. Instead he is pushing the idea of surveillance cameras.

Now I cannot tell you why he feels the need to spend county dollars on something that while taking pictures of the deed can do little to intervene. A good example of this is last year’s school board incident in Florida. The video is on the internet and shows great footage of the incident. However, no one was killed because there was an armed security guard there to intervene. Without the armed intervention there would be dead school board members.

Lack of inability to intervene in the situation is one specific reason I oppose the security camera idea. Another specific reason the idea should be opposed is the question of who is going to watch the camera feed? To give surveillance cameras even a slight chance of providing real time security someone has to be watching. Cameras are just not a cost effective solution for the return in real time security in a courthouse situation.

Hopefully the Commissioners will see this as a waste of money and stick to their original decision in 2010 and hire a full time Bailiff for courthouse security. No, an armed Bailiff might not stop someone from hurting a member of the public, but you can be sure that on scene armed security can do a lot more than produce another video for You-tube.

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