Security in Ramsey County Courthouse a concern

Lisa Jager Journal Staff Reporter
The Ramsey County Commission met on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

At its Feb. 5 meeting, the Ramsey County Commission addressed the issue of safety and security in the Ramsey County Courthouse building.

During a lengthy discussion, Kristen Nelsen from emergency management said the security video camera system currently in use in the building is inadequate. Nelsen was instructed by the commission to obtain price quotes from area companies for a new video system. The commission also discussed moving to a key-less lock system for employees and balancing such security with the need for open access to the public for offices, such as the extension service. How any new security measures would be funded was discussed. Nelsen said Judge Foughty had applied for a grant to improve security at his third floor location.

Commission member Myrna Heisler said there is need for a security "master plan" and commission chairman Scott Diseth said "we need to move on this to prevent a disaster from happening."

Tax Director Jerry Ratzlaff said Feb 1 is assessment date throughout the state of North Dakota, so his personnel is out looking at properties.

The commission heard a report from the Ramsey County Water Board. Its chairman Dan Webster said the county needs to think about what it will do about roads that may emerge from the water if the lake level continues to decrease. He mentioned one road in particular, County Road 2 near Churches Ferry, and that hunters had recently been using part of the road. Diseth said "it's something that definitely needs to be looked at and that we need to find out if these roads are safe and the costs involved with all of it." Highway Superintendent Kevin Fieldsend said that depending on what happens with the lake "there could be a lot of these that come up and we'll have to deal with them on a one by one basis."

Commissioner Ed Brown said this is something the commission might want to bring to the attention of North Dakota's legislators and suggested  the county attempt to meet with legislators soon on a Saturday morning in the near future to discuss this and other pertinent issues. The commission discussed setting up such a meeting on either Feb. 16 or 23.

Commissioner Heisler indicated there may be some additional state funding available for Ramsey County's social services programs and the commission approved a measure for commissioners Brown and Bill Mertens to travel to Bismarck soon to assist in obtaining such funding.

In other business, Earl Hanson reported that Heartland Care Center is working on obtaining accreditation as a VA care center. Ramsey County Extension Agent Bill Hodous said classes are full in the 4-H shooting sports and that some will soon participate in a national shoot in Nebraska.