Tulsa County OK Feb 14 2017 The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is hiring a private security firm, rather than using deputies, to provide armed guards at Tulsa County Courthouse entrances beginning March 1.
Sheriff Vic Regalado said the arrangement would save his office about $80,000 a year and would upgrade courthouse security since current entrance guards are unarmed.
“When you look at incidents of violence that occur nationally, they are typically at entrances,” Regalado said after Tulsa County commissioners agreed to the contract Monday morning.
Serious incidents inside the Tulsa County Courthouse have been rare, although a man outside the building was shot and wounded by deputies in 2012 after he began firing a pistol into the air.
County officials have expressed concern about courthouse security, but the Sheriff’s Office — facing a $2 million shortfall this budget year — said it would be cheaper to hire the private firm than detail the eight deputies needed for two armed guards at each entry point.
Regalado said hiring armed guards will allow deputies to patrol the building and its perimeter with an eye toward preventing armed incidents.
The contract approved Monday by county commissioners will pay Praetoria Security Group $191,684 over the coming year, with services expected to start March 1.
Regalado said the current unarmed security guards will be encouraged to apply for positions at the Tulsa Jail, which has been having difficulty hiring detention officers.