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Upshur County Magistrate Mike Coffman, chair of the court security board, encouraged the commission to approve a bid for an X-ray machine to be placed at the entrance to the Upshur County Courthouse Annex at Thursday's commission meeting.

Commission approves bid for X-ray machine to be stationed at courthouse annex entrance

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday approved a bid for a new X-ray inspection system designed to tighten security at the Upshur County Courthouse Annex.

The commission only received one bid for $20,970 from Astrophysics out of Arlington, Virginia.

However, Upshur County Magistrate Mike Coffman, who chairs the county’s Courthouse Security Board, said the bid meets all the specifications they were looking for; plus, the purchase will be entirely covered by grant funding.

“We’ve been working towards this for multiple years, and I would say we started the discussion about six years ago and then we started this in phases and got the metal detector up and running a couple years ago,” Coffman said. “This is just a final step in securing the courthouse, and it will be another tool to search larger items.”

The X-ray will only be at the annex courthouse entrance because it is the primary entrance for the public.

“All court traffic runs through the annex because it’s handicapped-accessible,” Coffman said. “The county clerk’s office has their own entrance with a metal detector and staff for searching, but this X-ray machine and metal detector will just be in the annex.”

He said they are also looking at making improvements on outdoor cameras and adding panic buttons in this grant cycle.

“We’re looking at panic alarms on the exit doors, not the ones the general public uses, but the ones personnel use,” Coffman said. “Authorized personnel will only be able to exit those. If anybody else would exit, there will be an audible alarm that will go off, obviously that does not in any way interfere with any kind of fire codes or anything.”

Coffman said people who work in the main courthouse and courthouse annex seem to appreciate the added security.

“I can speak for all the judges – circuit, magistrate, family court – and we’re all very thrilled to have the court security, knowing the people who come in, in front of you don’t have any weapons on them,” Coffman said. “It’s a great feeling, and I think it helps protect the public as well as the staff in the building.”

Commissioner Kristie Tenney made a motion to approve the bid, and commission president Terry Cutright seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

In other commission news, the commission received correspondence from Governor Jim Justice announcing the Statewide Implementation, Enhancement, and Evaluation Projects (SIEEP) Grant Award in the amount of $120,000 to be used to establish telehealth receiving sites in Upshur and Lewis counties.

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