Chief Judge congratulates sheriff’s department for improving safety at Government Center

Dear Editor:

I am writing you as the Chief Judge of the Tenth Judicial District. The District has 45 judges and is comprised of eight counties, including the Isanti County Courthouse.

I want to thank you, Isanti County Sheriff Bill Guenther, and the entire Isanti County Sheriff’s Department for the significant steps you have undertaken to implement weapons screening and provide a safe and secure Courthouse and Government Center for the citizens of Isanti County at the direction of the Isanti County Board of Commissioners.

As you know, the judiciary takes security very seriously.   We are mindful of your support of the proposal to implement weapons screening at the Isanti County Courthouse and how you have worked closely with the Board and Monica Tschumper in implementing your security plan. You and your staff are charged by statute to keep the Courthouse safe and the Isanti County sheriff has done a good job in that regard over the years.

However, I am sure you agree you now have more tools to keep the Government Center and Courthouse safe. Emotionally wrought people sometimes do things that they normally would not do. The consequences of a violent reaction are enormous and as you know unpredictable.

We appreciate that providing security in a Courthouse entails considerable responsibilities, personal risks, costs and a re-allocation of your resources as sheriff. Your office participated and made recommendations to our judges and administrators who participated in meetings and discussions when priorities and competing needs were discussed. Last July we did a group presentation to the Isanti County Board asking to improve security and make the Government Center a safer place to work.

Thank you for helping us formulate our requests and preparing an action plan for safety in the Government Center and Courthouse. We appreciate the difficulty of providing a safe environment while at the same time providing a facility that is not oppressive and intimidating. We think you have struck the proper balance. We very much appreciate the fact that the approach developed by your office now incorporates prevention through weapons screening, and does not just rely upon responding to a threat or an incident while it is in process or after the fact. It is a comprehensive approach for which we are most appreciative.

On behalf of the judges of the Tenth Judicial District, the staff in Isanti County, the users of the Government Center and the constituents who elect us, we thank you for your support of the weapons screening program and the steps you have taken to create a safe and secure facility in Isanti County.

Honorable John C. Hoffman
Chief Judge, Tenth Judicial District