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County committee recommends speed bumps and locked cars


October 04, 2012
OSSIPEE — The speed bumps will slow you down and once your car is parked it only makes sense to lock it. The county commissioners heard these two recommendations from the safety committee at their Sept. 26 weekly meeting and agreed to give both suggestions some extra thought.

The first suggestion, speed bumps, was brought forward by County Farm Manager Will DeWitte. He, along with several other employees, makes up the safety committee for the county complex. DeWitte told commissioners there are signs up in the parking lots but those are doing little to slow to slow vehicles down are they cruise through the parking lots of the nursing home and administration building.

Removable speed bumps, said DeWitte will cost an estimated $500 apiece and the committee is recommending the purchase of six.

The committee then wanted to go into non-public session with the commissioners to discuss the unlocked cars concern. Rep. David Babson, a regular at the commission meetings, pushed commissioners to keep the conversation in the public view and they agreed.

Currently, there is no policy that requires that employees and visitors to the county complex lock their cars. This has raised concerns for several reasons including the ease of access to a "free ride" if a jail inmate decides to commandeer a vehicle or a nursing home resident decides they want to take a spin in a car that already has the keys in the ignition. Commissioner David Sorensen said such a policy would be difficult to enforce, "We don't have campus police," he said. When David Hobson escaped from the jail last December, sheriff's department deputies went car-to-car as part of a ground search and found many vehicles unlocked, many with keys in the ignition or on the floor board. Mountain View Director of Nursing, Becky Mason, who also sits on the safety committee, brought up the danger of people also having access to what might be in those vehicles. It would be really hard to defend anything if a nursing home resident got in a vehicle and drove off or an inmate got into a vehicle and got a weapon out. "No offense but it is hunting season. People hunt around here. I think we could very easily enforce that you need to keep your cars locked. So that nothing in that vehicle could be used against anyone in that vehicle. It would be different if we didn't have a jail right here. I think that with the amount of activity and the number of people we have here it would be very hard to explain how we didn't protect someone in the public because they were able to get into a vehicle and get a weapon," said Mason.

"This isn't your normal grocery store parking lot. We have opportunities that don't exist elsewhere," said Mountain View Maintenance Director Bob Murray.

The commissioners passed off the work of drafting a policy to the county's human resources department and plan to review the concerns again soon.

Coos County Department of Corr
Northern Human Services
Martin Lord Osman
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