Justice Center now screening weapons

The Carver County Board held an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 13 to recognize the opening of the new weapons screening system at the Justice Center, which began operations May 12. Present for the ribbon cutting was, from left: Board Vice Chair Randy Maluchnik, Commissioner James Ische, Commissioner Tom Workman, Commissioner Tim Lynch, Board Chair Gayle Degler, Sheriff Jim Olson, Judge Michael Wentzell, and County Attorney Mark Metz. (Patriot photo by Melissa Marohl)

The Carver County Board held an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 13 to recognize the opening of the new weapons screening system at the Justice Center, which began operations May 12. Present for the ribbon cutting was, from left: Board Vice Chair Randy Maluchnik, Commissioner James Ische, Commissioner Tom Workman, Commissioner Tim Lynch, Board Chair Gayle Degler, Sheriff Jim Olson, Judge Michael Wentzell, and County Attorney Mark Metz. (Patriot photo by Melissa Marohl)

The agenda was full for the Carver County Board’s May 13 meeting, including a ribbon cutting at the Justice Center and the approval of a drive-through at the Chaska Service Center.

The new weapons screening system is open at the Carver County Justice Center in Chaska as of May 12. The system, which aims to protect those entering the courts, was originally scheduled to launch at the beginning of 2014, but as well all know too well, the brutal winter halted construction.

In a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 13, the Carver County Board of Commissioners, and others representing the various entities involved in the program, including the judges, bailiffs, Sheriff’s Department, took time to recognize the teamwork involved in this sort of project.

“Getting to this point has been a team effort,” Board Chair Gayle Degler said in a statement.

Sheriff Jim Olson said the project is simply about public safety and that Carver County isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, courts system to introduce a weapons screening.

“This project will certainly help facilitate that feeling of security,” he said.

For County Attorney Mark Metz, who referenced the December 2011 Cook County Courthouse shooting, this screening system will hopefully prevent something tragic.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” he said. “The Carver County Courthouse is the public’s courthouse … they should not only be safe but also feel safe.”

The new screening system includes a metal detector and X-ray machine. Visitors to the courthouse place their bags into a bin that passes through the X-ray machine, much like airport security. Visitors are allowed to keep their shoes on while passing through the metal detector. A bailiff is ready on the other side with a handheld wand to scan for additional metals if the visitor sets off the metal detector. A bypass lane is available for employees.

After the ribbon cutting, the Carver County Commissioners headed inside for their regular board session, which included a variety of active items on the agenda.

The Board allowed time for the annual recognition of the PEER Award winners throughout the county. Awards are given in three categories: Customer Service, Innovation, and Team Work. There were 14 nominations for the various awards. The 2014 PEER Customer Service award went to Sue Orvik, the Innovation Award went to Parks and Trails Supervisor Sam Pertz, and the Watertown Library Remodel Team won the Team Work award.

The Board also approved the Chaska Service Center’s drive-through project at the May 13 meeting, which included a project budget, purchase approval for 407 Pine Street N in Chaska, a Memorandum of Understanding between Chaska and the county, and delegating signature authority to the county administrator.

The 407 Pine Street N address is located next door to the current service center in downtown Chaska. In a willing agreement with the current owners, the county will purchase the property and demolish the house to build additional parking spaces and the drive-through. The drive-through itself will allow the License Center to remain customer friendly and ease the flow of traffic both in and around the building.

The project totals $271,000 with the county contributing $155,500 to the city’s $115,500. The two entities will split the cost of purchasing the property ($150,000 total), demolishing the house ($15,000), and miscellaneous fees ($6,000) in 2014. In 2015, the two entities will split the cost of the parking lot ($60,000 total) and the county will contribute $40,000 to building improvements.

To staff the drive-through will require an additional part-time employee for Property Records and Taxpayer Services, with a cost of $18,000-$20,000. Budget requests will be made later as necessary.

Also on May 13, the Board approved the removal of an existing bridge over County Ditch No. 6 in Dahlgren Township, east/southeast of Cologne. The private bridge, a timber structure built in 1958, is in disrepair and the cost to replace it is over $160,000. In accordance with a Minnesota statute, if the drainage authority finds constructing a private road would be more cost effective than replacing the bridge, the authority may build such a road. The total cost to remove the bridge and acquire an easement from the property owners would be less than $14,000. The project will be funded by the County Ditch No. 6 fund, with no cost to the budget of the county.

In other items, John Siegfried of Commissioner District No. 1 was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Water, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee. A closed session was also held regarding land acquisition for the CSAH 10 Roadway Reconstruction Project.

 

Contact Melissa Marohl at melissa.marohl@ecm-inc.com

 

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