By Bill Tiedje
The Ouray County Courthouse may be more than a century old, but that doesn't mean people shouldn't feel safe inside.
Thanks to a grant from the Colorado Court Security Commission, Ouray County is in the process of implementing a new security system, including a single point of entry with a metal detector.
Courthouse Security Officer Warren Waterman said, "For the most part, everybody has been really good," describing the transition to the new security procedures at the courthouse.
All visitors to the courthouse are asked to remove metal items from their pockets before walking through the new magnetometer. Additionally, Waterman said, any type of weapons, including knives, should be left in vehicles.
The north entrance will eventually be locked once a remote keyless entry system is installed to allow ADA access to the courthouse.
Administration assistant Vicki Lane explained the Courthouse Security Team applied for grant funding for the new security measures last October after a security audit of the courthouse recommended moving to a single point of entry.
County Administrator Connie Hunt said, "I think what we've learned is even though it's historic, that doesn't dismiss the need for security measures — so everyone will feel safe."
Lane visited the historic Sawatch County Courthouse to understand how modern security systems could be installed in Ouray without damaging the historic building.
The county administration is hopeful that by securing additional funding, the keyless entry system on the north entrance can be installed in coming months.
Grants from the CCSC also support the courthouse security officer position and have saved the county money by reducing transportation needs for court appearances with a new video conferencing system.
Statewide, an increasing number of courthouses are adding similar courthouse security measures. In Montrose County, the new courthouse also uses a single point of entry with a metal detector.