Two serious concerns have emerged about the proposed Johnson County Justice Center that appears on the November election ballot: the jail portion should be designed to meet only today’s current needs, and security checkpoints are unnecessary and would cause emotional distress for people entering the courthouse.
Johnson County has spent more than $1 million a year over the past decade to house inmates in other counties because the present county jail was designed and constructed in 1981 to address only incarceration needs at that time. There was no consideration for future expanding population and public safety needs.
Any governments or businesses would be remiss if they designed and developed structures or programs with no capacity for future increased needs or opportunities. Planning for the future is mandatory for both the public and private sectors.
Public safety must always be a high priority for governments at all levels.
Fears about specific types of security measures for the courthouse appear to be based more on emotion than on knowledge or facts. Security checkpoints at Justice Center entrances would be metal detection devices that all people entering would simply walk through and make articles they’re carrying available for inspection. No full body scans, body pat-downs or other controversial practices recently incorporated by Transportation Security Administration at airports are proposed.
Lynn E. Rowat
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