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LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — Major security upgrades are in store for the Lowndes County Courthouse.

Supervisors voted today to spend up to $50,000 on training, salary, benefits and other expenses to hire a deputy with arrest powers to man the courthouse full time.

A bailiff also will be stationed at entrances all the time rather than just when court is in session.

The county also will study security cameras and may limit access to the building’s rear entrance to employees only through a keypad system.

As many as 1,700 people go through the courthouse on its busiest days when court is in session.

And courthouse workers have expressed growing concern about security not just during criminal court but also because of child custody, divorce and mental evaluation cases. Chancery Court Clerk Lisa Neese brought the issue to a head last week when she pushed for the security upgrades.

North Atlantaic Security offered to provide an armed guard for $2,352 a month but Sheriff Mike Arledge, County Administrator Ralph Billingsley and supervisors agreed having a trained deputy with arrest powers was a better option because the county would better control training and other responsibilities.

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