No Entry for Law Enforcement into the Rogers County Courthouse
In Rogers County, there is a battle raging over safety and security. Claremore Police officers were denied key cards to get into the Rogers County Courthouse at the request of the Rogers County Sheriff's Office. Two county commissioners were absolute in saying no to giving any other law enforcement agency access after hours.During Monday's meeting, the request was denied with a 2-1 vote with commissioners Kirt Thacker and Mile Helm opposing the measure."Motion to absolutely deny key cards other than through the commissioners and human recourses as deemed necessary," Thacker said.Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said to absolutely deny someone is a bold statement."As a blend of politics and ignorance, we deny a law enforcement agency access to a building that could be our best help," Walton said.The sheriff's office was trying to get access cards to the Claremore Police officers since they are often the first responders to the courthouse because the sheriff's deputies jobs are out in the county.The access cards would only allow officers into the hallways and the elevators not in any of offices unless the doors were open. Individual doors require a separate key.Walton described a call that came in at 2 a.m. where his deputies were out and Claremore police officer got to the courthouse first to find they couldn't get in. It turned out to be a cleaning crew that had been give a key without deputies knowing. Walton said he is doing his job to make it a secure courthouse and there is always a threat of an active shooter"We have taken guns, knives off of people that were attempting to enter the building," Walton said.Commissioner Thacker said that an active shooter would only come in the courthouse during business hours and the police department can get into the front doors."If someone is in here messing around doing something that they aren't suppose to be doing," Thacker said during the meeting "There are only certain exits they can come out. So, when they come out by then there would be plenty of law officers here at those exits, if you are going to shot them, shot them outside, don't mess it up in here,""To make a comment, that we want to shoot them outside of the building, in my 33 year career, I have never heard anything that ignorant in my life," Walton said.We did talk to Commissioner Thacker over the phone Friday, and he says that he voted no because he questioned the timing of the request because of the incident that happened in April. He went on to say that he would be willing to revisit the issue, he just didn't think any of the examples were good enough to give access.The Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers do have access cards to the courthouse.