Security Program Begins Monday at County Government Center
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Look for some significant changes at the Olmsted County Government Center Monday.
The new security and expansion project is wrapping up and effective 7:30 a.m. Monday (May 2), the county’s new security program will be in place.
It will affect all visitors who plan to use an elevator to go to the second floor or higher.
Two elevators on the first floor will take visitors to the second floor to be screened. A screening system similar to TSA operations at airports has been installed on the second floor, along with two new elevators that will take visitors to floors 3- 6.
Lockers have also been installed in the screening area for use by visitors.
Drop boxes will be in place for visitors who want to dispose of items that won’t be permitted beyond the second floor. These include knives, guns of any type and ammunition. They will not be returned to their owners. For visitors who don’t want to dispose of an item, they will be asked to take them to their vehicle.
Visitors who have been screened will have access to floors 3 through 6 but once they return to the first floor, they will have to go through the screening process again.
County and district court employees will not have to be screened and will have use of a dedicated elevator that will be off-limits to visitors.
Here is the information from the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office:
Olmsted County Government Center Safety Screening Policy Purpose:
In order to ensure a safe environment for Olmsted County’s employees, and members of the public visiting the Government Center, Olmsted County has authorized the following Safety Screening Policy for the Government Center. The safety of our employees and our citizens is foremost in the creation of this policy. Security of the Government Center will be enhanced through the use of safety screening systems and employee identification procedures.
Prior to the commencement of the Safety Screening Policy, Olmsted County will conduct a public information campaign in addition to training for all staff that work or visit the Government Center. The aforementioned training will include all current staff, regular visiting staff, and new employees in orientation. Signage will be readily visible for those conducting business within the Government Center.
Location of the Safety Screening Station:
The Safety Screening Station is located on the 2nd floor of the Government near the elevator lobby. The Safety Screening Station will be open from 07:30AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday; it will be closed on official County holidays when the Government Center is closed to the public.
Hours of Operation for Safety Screening Station:
The Safety Screening Station will be operational during the above listed timeframe. During peak times, the station will be manned by all necessary Government Center Security Staff. During non-peak hours, the number of security staff at the Station may be reduced and re-allocated as necessary. The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office retains the right to determine the number of security staff present at any given time which will be dependent upon the current court calendar and/or unanticipated security needs within the Government Center.
Safety Screening Station Operating Procedures:
The following procedures will be strictly enforced by members of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office at all times when the Safety Screening Station is in operation:
Persons that wish to conduct business on Floors 3 through 6 of the Government Center must pass through the Safety Screening Station.
County, District Court, and Rochester Police Department Staff are strongly encouraged to use the secure staff elevator.
Persons wishing to conduct business on Floors 3 through 6 of the Government Center are subject to the following:
Safety screening via electronic means including x-ray examination of all personally carried bags or containers, walking through screening equipment, and/or manual screening if deemed necessary by members of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office.
A person passing through the screening equipment and triggering an alarm will be asked to empty their pockets, remove, or identify any and all objects that may be on their person. They will then be allowed to pass through the screening equipment a second time. If the person being screened does not trigger a second alarm, they will be allowed to collect their belongings and proceed to their destination.
If the person triggers a second alarm, they will be given another opportunity to empty their pockets, remove, or identify any objects that may be on their person. They will then be allowed to pass through the screening equipment a third time. If the person does not trigger a subsequent alarm, they will be allowed to collect their belongings and proceed to their destination.
If a person triggers a third alarm and they still wish to continue to their destination, the person will be taken aside and subject to search via a handheld instrument or a pat down search; the option which is chosen will be determined by the security staff. If the person is not found to possess dangerous weapons and/or unauthorized items or can clearly articulate a reason for the alarm activation which does not involve bringing these items into the Government Center, they will be allowed to collect their belongings and proceed to their destination. If the person is found to possess dangerous weapons and/or unauthorized items or cannot clearly articulate the reason for the alarm activation, which does not involve bringing these prohibited items into the Government Center they will be denied access to Floors 3 through 6 of the Government Center.
All personally carried bags or containers are subject to search via the x-ray scanner. If any objects that appear suspicious in nature are discovered, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a search of the bag or container to identify or remove the suspicious object. Those that fail to consent to a search of their bag or container have the option of returning the bag to their vehicle or not proceeding to their destination.
At any time a person may refuse to consent to a search of their person, bag, or container. Those that refuse to consent to a search of their person, bag, or container will be expected to exit the Safety Screening area. They will then have the option of either returning the bag or container to their vehicle before completing safety screening again or only accessing the portions of the Government Center which do not include Floors 3 through 6.
If any objects found during the search or scan appear to be illegal in nature or are prohibited from being within the Government Center are discovered, the person in possession of the object(s) will be denied access to Floors 3 through 6 of the Government Center. The object(s) in question are subject to seizure by the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and will not be returned. The person may also be subject to criminal prosecution at the discretion of the prosecuting authority.
Lockers for personal items:
Lockers will be provided for those that wish to place screened bags or outer clothing for the duration of their visit to Floors 3 through 6 of the Government Center. The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office reserves the right to search the locker without prior notice. Items left in the lockers at the close of the business day will be placed in the Property/Evidence Room of the Law Enforcement Center or stored in a secure location of the Law Enforcement Center, or left in the locked locker.
Law Enforcement Screening:
Uniformed law enforcement officers will not be required to pass through the Safety Screening Station, but they may be asked to verify their employment status by producing a valid, law enforcement photo identification card. Members of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and Rochester Police Department are strongly encouraged to use the secure staff elevator for access to Floors 3 through 6.
Non-Uniformed Law Enforcement Officers:
Non-uniformed law enforcement officers, who are armed, will be required to produce a valid, law enforcement photo identification card when/if asked to do so by security staff. Non-uniformed members of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the Rochester Police Department are strongly encouraged to use the secure staff elevator for access to floors 3 through 6.
Officers attending Court Hearings Not Related to Their Law Enforcement Employment:
Law Enforcement officers that are attending court hearings not associated with their employment as an officer or have other personal business to complete on Floor 3-6 of the Government Center shall not carry a dangerous weapon or unauthorized item(s). Officers will be asked to secure the dangerous weapon or unauthorized item prior to the Safety Screening Station.