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County starts security fixes

WARREN — Trumbull County officials have a New Year’s resolution for the administration building in 2020: Make it safer.

But commissioners want to make sure the security upgrades they want in place by the beginning of the year, including the closure of the side entrance closest to the majority of parking near the building, doesn’t leave people out in the cold too long.

Commissioner Dan Polivka said he is worried closing off the Harmon Avenue entrance on the west side of the building will make it more arduous for people with difficulty walking to get to the 160 High St. NW building.

The main parking lot is well behind the building’s entrances and while there is some street parking on High Street NW and along the building on Harmon Avenue, the spots are often taken — some are reserved for the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office. The two spots in the street directly in front of the building are reserved for vehicle inspections.

“If you’re healthy, it’s fine, but a lot of elderly and handicap come down as well. And all our employees will be coming through the front. I want more safety for all, but I have some concerns and questions about the recommendations,” Polivka said.

Polivka said he isn’t sure the building really needs only one entrance.

“Well, I know in this day and age everyone is improving security, and I know proper security is important. (But), I don’t like them taking the one entrance out of play,” Polivka said.

The commissioners, department heads and county elected officials, including Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe, met in September to discuss upgrades to the building. Monroe’s office made security recommendations.

“The commissioners are looking toward national trends in our country and safeguarding employees, as well as the public, in their building. They asked us to consult to improve the safety and the security in the building,” Monroe said.

Having one entrance makes it easier to control entry, isolate threats and contain security problems, Monroe said at the September meeting.

“Having just one entrance contains any potential shooters to the first floor,” Chief Deputy Joseph Dragovich said at the September meeting.

The sheriff’s office also will begin assigning two deputies to the building, Monroe said.

The metal detectors and deputies are expected to be positioned at the front entrance to check people coming in. Now, people can freely walk into either entrance and move about the building.

Polivka said he wants to create more parking near the entrances for older people and disabled people before the side entrance is locked.

Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said they are studying the issue and have some ideas about adding more parking options.

Besides locking up the side entrance, other security upgrades are on their way too.

“The last major renovation to the administration building was over 20 years ago,” Cantalamessa said. “With that said, quite a bit has changed in 20 years. Updated safety policies and new security technology are necessary to ensure we are keeping the building as safe as we can — both for the general public, and county employees.”

The county spent $24,250 on a walk-through metal detector and the accompanying equipment, purchased through Event Metal Detectors / Security Detection of Sylvania, $34,765 on 53 cameras and the labor and equipment to install them through VEC of Girard and $13,530 on two glass doors with heavy-duty closers and handicap accessible push button openers for the main entrance through Warren Door of Niles.

“We are also going to have some interior doors with magnetic locking devices that would require either a county ID or a programmed fob,” Cantalamessa said.

The building is where people can come to pay or discuss their property taxes, get veteran IDs, handle auto and boat titles, record real estate deals, go to commissioners’ meetings, interact with the prosecutor’s office, acquire special licenses and access numerous other services.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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