Scioto County isn’t the only place where people aren’t happy about controversial new security measures at the Courthouse. Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless slammed the decision to close the Fifth Street entrance to the Lawrence County Courthouse in Ironton.
Lawless told Lawrence County Commissioners he had serious concerns about that decision. “My office is in and out of that courthouse. Many of my employees use that side of the courthouse to get their jobs done.” He said members of the public aren’t happy about that decision either with many stopping him in the street to complain. I tell them it’s not something I have control over.” He said citizens tell him the steps of the historic courthouse are hard to climb and that the handicap ramp is too steep and difficult to navigate.
Lawless said, “In my opinion, closing the Fourth street side would be a better option. On the Fifth Street side, you have EMA, 911, and a lot of parking is on that side of the courthouse. I would request that you take another look at it.”
Commissioner DeAnna Holliday said that the decision to close that entrance was made last year. Much like the controversial decision to fence in parking at Scioto County’s courthouse, it was made to in the name of complying with state security requirements.
She said Lawrence County was one of the last counties in the state to make the change. “If you visit other counties throughout the state, they have one entrance open. That has been recommended by the Ohio Supreme Court.”
She said they chose to leave the Fourth Street entrance open because it’s the traditional entrance to the building but pointed out that there are handicap ramps and handicap parking in the front.
Some audience members at the meeting also expressed unhappiness with the decision saying they through the decision did not take into account the needs of the elderly and disabled or how many residents have to go in and out of the courthouse on a daily basis.
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis spoke out about similar concerns at the Scioto County Commissioners meeting. He pointed out the case of a Mississippi Judge who was gunned down outside his courthouse on Monday. “What happened there is the very reason we’ve taken the security measures we’ve had at the courthouse. Fencing it in and making it very difficult to reach our judges.” He said the county in Mississipi where the ambush happened is similar in size to Scioto County and that anyone who has questioned the recent security decisions at the courthouse should consider that. “We live in a dangerous world. We like to think we live in a Norman Rockwell world. We don’t.”