HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Is it time to lock up on weekends? That’s a question Madison County Commissioners are now reviewing at the county courthouse, which currently pays for security guards even on the days it is closed.
Madison County Chairman Dale Strong said current security policy at the courthouse stems from when the Madison County Jail used to be housed on the very top floor of the building. But the jail has long since moved to a newer facility, with Strong calling the ongoing practice of weekend security outdated and a waste of taxpayer money.
“Times have changed, we no longer have a jail here,” said Strong. “If we don’t have public access, we don’t need a full security team here…very few government buildings, and even federal buildings, are open with a security staff there around the clock when no one else is there.”
A proposal Strong is pushing calls for the installation of electric locks with key fobs that would allow employees like prosecutors and judges to still be able to access the courthouse on a Saturday or Sunday.
“We want to be sure that our deputy district attorneys have access to prepare for cases,” said Strong. “If they’re preparing for a case on a Monday and need to come here. Also, the probate judge is in and out. We want to be sure they have time to come in on the weekend.”
Commissioners said they will continue to review security procedures at the courthouse before taking any formal action. What would happen to the weekend security staff has yet to be determined, but officials said it’s possible those employees could be reassigned to a higher priority area.