Houghton County Courthouse looks at potential security updates

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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Houghton County Courthouse has been around since 1887.

Houghton County Courthouse July 2019 (WLUC Photo)

Times have changed over the last 132 years and the current security measures at the courthouse aren't up to modern standards.

"We do need to start looking at security issues so that the public and employees are safe in courtrooms and court buildings throughout this region," said Tim Brennan, a Judge with the 97th District Court.

The Michigan Supreme Court passed an administrative order earlier in the year that requires each courthouse to have a security committee by September 1, 2019.

"Those security committees will meet at least quarterly and consider security issues in each courthouse or administrative building," added Brennan.

Some of the current security issues with the Houghton County Courthouse include having multiple entries into the building and courtrooms, a lack of security scanners and metal detectors, and having to transport inmates to and from the jail to the courthouse outdoors.

"Being able to transport the inmate from the jail to the court without having to go outside through the front entrance and the courts and the jails work together very closely through all cases, so, close proximity and direct access would be ideal," said Houghton County Sheriff, Brian McLean.

Part of the issue in fixing these problems has to do with a lack of funding as well as the increased staffing needs these changes would bring.

"There is an awareness, but we have an 1880s courthouse and some of the options they list for the new modern security features would be very tough to implement there," Sheriff McLean said.

All of the security committees in the state will have to submit a report to the Michigan Supreme Court on their findings and the actions they have taken.

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