Jail expansion means safer times for Franklin Co. Courthouse

PASCO, Wash. -- Nine months after you voted for the expansion of the Franklin County Jail, KEPR learned it will lead to a major security upgrade at the Franklin County Courthouse.

"With everything going on... you think about security a little more."

Erica Quiroz has done absolutely nothing wrong. She's not at the Franklin County Court for an arraignment, but to serve divorce papers for her mom. Like a lot us, the CBC student always has safety on her mind, especially in a place like the courthouse.

"You come through the front door, you get your stuff checked. I feel pretty safe coming in here," she says.

Franklin County Courthouse workers hope to keep it that way thanks to another major security upgrade.

As plans move forward to expand the Franklin County Jail, the need to supervise inmates grows by the day. To keep everyone safe, more than 60 new security cameras will be installed at the courthouse, guarding everything from the hallways to the parking lots. In addition, the fence around the courthouse will be extended to surround the entire property.

The improvements come only five years after metal detectors were installed at the courthouse. In that time, the number of weapons confiscated by security has been cut in half. And with the next round of new improvements, court workers hope to keep that success alive, while keeping folks like Quiroz safe.

"Whether or not a situation has happened, I'm glad they're taking extra steps before it does happen,"

No system is truly perfect, but in Franklin County at least, extra space for inmates will lead to extra safety for anyone coming to the courthouse.

The security upgrades won't be finished until the jail expansion is completed.

Bids for the expansion project will go out in a few weeks.

Money for extra security is part of the overall expansion.