ASTORIA, Ore. — Visitors to the Clatsop County courthouse can once again enter the building without being screened after some security measures were lifted due to costs.
Tougher security procedures were instituted last week in time for the county’s first death penalty trial in more than a decade, The Daily Astorian reported (https://is.gd/mfmf2g ).
But the Sheriff’s Office and other officials balked at the extra cost and resources needed to screen everyone entering the court.
Sheriff Tom Bergin said his deputies are already overworked due to patrol duty and covering shifts at the jail, and his office does not have the personnel for shifts at the courthouse.
“It all boils down to money, and we don’t have the resources or the manpower,” Bergin said.
A metal detector has been set up outside the courtroom where Randy Lee Roden is being tried in the killing of 2-year-old Evangelina Wing, who died of blunt force trauma in December 2014. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
County Manager Cameron Moore said the county is in ongoing talks to find a permanent solution to secure the courthouse after Roden’s trial.
Moore estimates it could cost $300,000 a year to fully secure the courthouse. He also said it is unclear how much officials want to inconvenience people trying to enter the courthouse.
“This is the public’s building. We don’t want to make it too difficult,” Moore said. “It’s finding the balance between appropriate access and appropriate security.”
Information from: The Daily Astorian, http://www.dailyastorian.com