The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors is considering a resolution designating portions of the courthouse as non-public areas.
The resolution was first discussed during their weekly meeting held on Tuesday, April 30.
It was tabled until their Tuesday, May 7 meeting to give the Supervisors more time to look at more buildings and rooms needing to be considered in the resolution.
“This is similar to what they have done in Hancock County as far designating areas as public or non-public in the courthouse,” said county attorney Kelsey Beenken.
Beenken said she tried to cover every office she could in the resolution, such as the treasurer’s office and the clerk’s office, which were easy because they have a counter and doors to the office.
“The hardest one was probably the Social Services office in the basement because you just kind of walk in and they don’t have a counter or anything,” she said. “So all I did on a couple of those types of offices are, ‘All areas are non-public except for the small lobby at the entrance,’ and then we would post signs so it should be clear.”
Cost for the signage was estimated at approximately $5 per sign, according to Beenken.
For most offices, everything behind the counter will be designated non-public with authorized access only, she said. Storage and equipment rooms will also be non-public.
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“How this would work is if someone were to be non-compliant or to insist on going into a non-public area is technically a trespassing charge, is what it would be,” Beenken said.
Beenken said designating the non-public areas are just for comfortability for the county employees when someone comes in the building recording and videoing and so the employees know how to react.
With new technological advances in cameras, such as the TR7, people can zoom in and record documents lying on desks clearly, a security problem the resolution is hoped to solve, according to Beenken.
An additional reason is the County doesn’t want unauthorized people to have access to sensitive information for security purposes.
The Supervisors’ room, however, is a special case because the Supervisor meetings need to be open to the public and some people other than the Supervisors use the room as a meeting room.
“If we shut the door, then it’s off limits,” Supervisor Chairman Terry Durby said.
Supervisor Bill Jensvold said people can use the room through invitation, so they are being allowed access.
In the current draft of the resolution, Beenken also included the public health building, but not the healthy families building, since it had a similar set up. The law enforcement center was not included, since it is already a secure building.