WINDOM, Minn. - The Cottonwood County Courthouse is now more secure following a project made possible through grant funding.

A committee made up of the Sheriff, county commissioners, judges and the emergency management agency assessed the safety concerns of the courthouse and picked four of the most pressing needs. The project got underway this past winter after the request by officials of $14,485 in matching funds was fully-funded through Minnesota's Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative Grant Program.
"We wrote the grant based on those four and said this we want to do 1, 2, 3 and 4 in those order, so if we didn't get the full amount we would still continue with our most important projects," Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Johnson said.
Upgrades included security cameras throughout the building, security glass at the court administrator's window, a more secure keypad door for the office, a portable metal detector and a door separating the public from the jury room and court offices.
"Basically it secures the jury room area, judge's chambers court admin. It keeps the general public from being able to go back in there and then have to possibly run, if we have a court trial going on, into running into jury things like that. It secures the court area of the upstairs," Cottonwood County Sheriff Jason Purrington said.
"It was tough because we wanted to make changes but we obviously were worried about the historic value of the building staying the same so it was tough but I think we found projects that minimize any real change to the building, but yet increase the security of the building," Sheriff Purrington added.
"I feel that the dollars were used well here because of the fact that we did take our time, we did our homework we contacted our contractors ahead of time, it went very smooth," Johnson said.
One million dollars was available through the grant funding, to go to courthouses in each county across the state.

--KEYC News 12