Appreciate courthouse security improvements

Dear Editor,

We want to extend our sincere appreciation to County Commissioners Jim DeTro, Sheilah Kennedy and Ray Campbell for their forward thinking approach to improved security in our courthouse. Rather than wait for tragedy to strike, our Commissioners, in recognition of citizens’ needs to feel confident and safe in seeking access to courthouse services, adopted a resolution creating a courthouse security officer position.

The courthouse building serves voters, jurors, employees, litigants, victims, tax payers, and people stopping in to get a passport, renew their tabs, record land documents, or get assistance from the noxious weed office. The courthouse is also where people come to resolve disputes and criminal charges, which can lead to volatile, sometimes dangerous situations. Time and again, we find that people act more civilly when there is an armed presence in the courtroom, and certainly our goal is to prevent problems and deescalate situations when possible. If you see one of your County Commissioners, please tell him or her thank you for making our Courthouse a safer place for everyone.

Heidi E. Smith, Presiding Judge

Charles D. Short, Judge

Okanogan County District Court