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Courtroom Security Upgrades In Sunnyside And Other Valley Cities

Chaos ensued last week after a stabbing and shooting at a courthouse in Montesano, Washington.
There were no metal detectors or security guards in place that day and KIMA found some municipal courts around the valley are in the same situation.

Sunnyside City Council decided to make courtroom security upgrades.
There won’t be metal detectors, but Sunnyside will hire outside security.

“I think, unfortunately, it’s probably just a matter of time before some kind of incident happens in Sunnyside. They’ve happened in Union Gap, Montesano and probably elsewhere and the state,” said Sunnyside Deputy City Manager Byron Olson.

A shooting in a Union Gap courtroom spurred the judge there to hire more security.

Still, KIMA wanted to know if other cities are considering changes.

The Selah Mayor tells Action News there have been talks of upgrading courtroom security and renovating the whole building.

Selah’s courtroom doubles as council chambers.

The city plans to move the court into the old library where there’s more space and a direct entrance from outside.

Mayor John Gawlik says it’s now a matter of finding the money.

“We have a certain responsibility for the protection of the judge, the prosecutor, defense attorney as well as the citizens who are here for business in the court,” said Gawlik.

Wapato says it’s also considering courtroom improvements.

Sunnyside plans to have a security guard on duty 1.5  days per week, which will cost around $10,000 a year.  City leaders say an added sense of security will be worth the money.
Sunnyside City Council could give final approval to the improvements at the next council meeting.

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