Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

September 10, 2013

COURTHOUSE: No entry for Claremore Police

CLAREMORE —

Security and safety concerns prompted the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office Monday to request commissioners grant the Claremore Police Department key card access into the Rogers County Courthouse.
The request was denied with a 2-1 vote with commissioners Kirt Thacker and Mike Helm opposing the measure.
“Motion to absolutely deny key cards other than through the commissioners and human recourses as deemed necessary,” Thacker said. 
Undersheriff John Sappington made the request after discovering CPD was unable to assist deputies on a call for assistance when someone was reported in the building at 2 a.m. 
Deputies were on calls in the county and CPD came to the courthouse, only to find they were unable to enter the building, according to Sappington.
“If we need help, they can not get in the building,” Sappington said. “I am trying to get them access.”
“If someone is in here messing around, doing something they should not be doing, there is only certain exits they can come out.” Thacker said. “So when they come out, by then there will be plenty of officers at those exits. If you are going to shoot them, shoot them outside, don’t mess it up in here.”
Although the incident was later determined to be a cleaning crew, which borrowed a key card from a state employee, the issue raised concerns about courthouse security.
“It would be nice for other agencies to have the ability to respond,” Sappington said. An assisting agency would only have access to the hallways, according to Sappington.
“Are you telling me the sheriff’s office can not handle security for the courthouse?” Thacker said.
Sappington said the issue is the number of deputies available and the area they are required to cover after hours.
He recommended the board give the sheriff’s office the ability to control key card access to the building or to at least give assisting law enforcement agencies access.

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