Franklin County Commissioner Mike Schatz has raised concerns about the safety of the county judicial center.
He noted that there is nothing to stop a vehicle from crashing through the front door of the building.
Security workers stationed at the front of the judicial center could be put at risk if a vehicle crashed through the building, county counselor Mark Vincent said.
To prevent such a tragedy, Schatz brought up the idea of installing reinforced poles in front of the building to stop a vehicle from crashing through.
The cost to do the project is about $500 per pole, and he is looking at the possibility of installing two or three.
He noted that now would be a good time to install the barriers since the city of Union is currently replacing sidewalks around the building.
Schatz said a deputy U.S. marshal conducted a protective survey on the judicial center a couple of years ago and pointed out the safety deficiency at the time.
The steel poles may not be aesthetically pleasing, but judicial security must be taken seriously, Schatz added. The judicial building is vulnerable because it is at street level, he said.
Schatz said Wednesday that he wanted to speak with Circuit Judge Gael Wood to get his thoughts on the plan before moving ahead.
Vehicles travelling on Church Street or Main Street could careen through the judicial center, he said.
With the city sidewalk construction expected to be done soon, the clock is ticking to do the work, Schatz noted.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said that Schatz’s concerns are valid.
Vincent said another idea would be to put barriers inside the building in front of the security workers or reinforce their desk.
If this option were chosen, there would not be such a tight deadline to meet the city’s construction schedule.