McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 16, 2012

DA and Bedford work on courthouse safety measures

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER —  

Plans to address safety issues at the Pittsburg County Courthouse have been set back, according to Richard Bedford Pittsburg County undersheriff.
Bedford discussed the issue with the Pittsburg County Commissioners on Tuesday as they met for their regular meeting at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.
The commissioners meetings are usually held on Monday but were rescheduled following the Veteran’s Day holiday.
In an October commissioners meeting, Bedford told the commissioners that securing the courthouse would be a “tactical nightmare”. Previous to the meeting, several officers spent the night on alert at courthouse after a threat was made by a Tulsa man. 
 At Tuesdays meeting, Bedford said was working with former District 18 First Assistant District Attorney Richard Hull to put together the language for the new policies Bedford was working to put into place. 
With Hull’s departure earlier this month, Bedford said wasn’t sure who would be working with him on the changes.
“Richard Hull was working with me to write up the language for the changes,” Bedford said. “This puts us back a step.”
District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith told Bedford District Attorney Farley Ward will work with Bedford on the issue. “Farley said that you can get with him on that,” Smith said. 
Bedford said his plans include a training to prepare employees in case of a security threat and securing the many doors and windows at the courthouse.
He said there needs to be a protocol in place for employees and others to know what to do when a dangerous situation occurs.
During the October meeting Ward said he agreed with Bedford
“It is extremely important that this is dealt with as soon as possible,” Ward said.
“It would be terrible if something happened that we could have prevented.”
Also Monday’s meeting was Commission Chairman District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers and District 3 Commissioner Ronnie Young.
Pittsburg County Commissioners meet every Monday at 9 a.m. in the county commissioner’s conference room at the Pittsburg County courthouse. The meetings are open to the public.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.