Court security grant sought

PARKERSBURG – Wood County is applying for $33,294 in grant funding for additional and improved court security for county buildings.

There is no match required for the grant, which is being sought through the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services.

The grant, if approved, would be available July 1.

“We usually hear about the status of those grants around the end of May or beginning of June,” said Toni Tiano, county grant coordinator.

“We had a meeting with court security and elected officials at the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, the Shaver Judicial Annex and the new justice center and they were asked to come up with a list of court security items they felt were needed, anything that needed to be improved,” Tiano said. The Black Annex houses the family court and prosecutor’s offices. The Shaver Judicial Annex is home to the circuit court, circuit clerk and other court personnel and the justice center houses the magistrate court.

The meeting produced a list of court security cameras needed at the Shaver building at various locations.

“The sheriff’s department officials felt the court security bailiffs needed Tasers,” Tiano said. “And the state believes the desks for security personnel at the Black Annex need to have ballistic materials.”

Tiano said no funding is provided through the grants for personnel, this grant funding is only for equipment.

She said requests were also included for voice intercom systems for the magistrate court.

The county commissioners authorized the president to sign the grant application.

Tiano said grant funding is still a priority for court security issues.

“You constantly see media reports of shootings and incidents in public places, government buildings, I think security is still a priority with the grant-funding entities,” Tiano said, noting Wood County has come a long way in providing court personnel and the public with additional security in the county-owned buildings.

“There are security cameras extensively throughout the buildings, bullet-proof materials in the courts, security access to certain locations. Iit’s changed quite a bit over the years,” she said.