By Stephanie Edwards
Nick Edwards, Lee’s Summit City Management Analyst, presented an amendment to the budget that would allow full time equivalents for certain positions in the police department and municipal court. The police department would like to hire an officer for security at the municipal court, he said. “It’s necessary for security to be provided by a post-certified officer so that person has the power to detain and arrest.”
The presence of an officer who works for the police department would “greatly enhance security,” Edwards said. To offset the increased cost, Edwards proposed eliminating two vacant bailiff positions.
The financial impact would be an increase of about $40,000 to the police department budget, he said.
Councilmember Diane Forte questioned whether the officer would replace the bailiffs or if he or she would be in addition. Edwards explained that there would no longer be bailiffs at the court under the proposal.
What matters, he explained, is that the officer would be post certified.
“Two operations exist at the court,” Conrad Lamb, Finance Director, added. “We have a court screening system, just like airport security, which we do five days a week.” The other part is to have a bailiff or a police officer in the court room if there is an incident, he said. Recent state legislation regarding segregation of roles has also prompted the proposed change.
“It is the opinion of our law department that it’s better to have a police officer that does this type of security and separates it from some of the other functions that the bailiff used to do,” Lamb said.
A court security officer is still in the budget and currently functions as a bailiff. This officer will be in the court room on the days the court is in session two days per week. The officer will be fulfilling other officer duties on the days the court is not in session. On those off days, Lamb explained, the city will continue to employ an outside security firm to operate security equipment.
Councilmember Diane Seif moved to approve the amendment. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.