Morrison County still pondering extra building securityby Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio
Morrison county officials say they haven't decided yet whether to add extra building security after a recent fatal shooting at the courthouse.
St. Paul, Minn. — The Morrison County Board met this week for the first time since police shot and killed Gordon Wheeler Sr., when he held county employees hostage at gunpoint during a June 24 board meeting.
County Administrator Tim Houle says this was an isolated incident. He says Wheeler had personal issues with specific individuals on the board, including Houle.
He says extra security measures will not ease anyone's anxieties during a crisis like this.
"The reality is that human beings are creatures of habit, and so if somebody wants to do you harm, they are going to be able to do you harm," said Houle. "Even the most stringent security measures cannot guarantee your personal safety."
Houle says if the county adds any extra security, then it'll need to be as unobtrusive as possible.
"I think Morrison County is not the only county in the state that has been trying for years to increase the amount of civic engagement that we have from the public," said Houle. "If you create a bunker or fortress that they have to get into in order to engage in that public discourse, it certainly has the potential to have a chilling effect on that public discourse and, by extension, the quality of our democracy."
Houle says Morrison County will review its building security over the next few months.
Houle says most residents of Morrison County do not appear to support adding metal detectors at the county government center.