BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – Lee County Recorder Nancy Booten wants the county supervisors to do something about security in Fort Madison.
And she wants it now.
After Tuesday’s regular Lee County Board of Supervisors meeting, Booten told supervisors that in addition to her department holding active attacker training last week, police chased two men from the building Monday.
She said her staff is understandably concerned about their safety.
“We’ve heard for years, ‘let’s do something about safety’, ‘what’s a life worth’. Well they don’t feel like they’re worth anything. They really don’t because nothing’s been done,” Booten said.
She said recently there were two customers that had made the staff nervous and warranted a call to law enforcement. After investigating footage it was determined the two had arrest records and were later arrested for theft the same evening they were in the North Lee County offices.
Booten said her department is first in the door and the height of the counter makes her staff and herself very susceptible to harm if something were to happen.
“You hear all the time it can’t happen here… we heard it can’t happen here, well it happened at (Scotts),” She said. “We want something done. We want a door and some teller windows.”
She said she didn’t think it was very expensive for the improvements, and anything that could cause a delay to someone who wants to do harm could save a life.
Booten said the south Lee County offices were given security upgrades but nothing has happened in North Lee County aside from some occassional deputy presence.
“The state doesn’t give us a dime, but we’re protecting them. Our staff doesn’t feel like we’re protecting us,” she said.
“If I have to take it out of my budget, since we’re talking about budgets… whatever. I just think we need to do something and we need to do it now.”
Supervisor Gary Folluo said there should be a hallway at North Lee County similar to what Keokuk has.
“And you should be behind a wall of glass,” Folluo said.
Supervisor Matt Pflug said Booten was making valid points.
“The state doesn’t give us anything and, again, we kick this can around a lot. I know it all takes money but it’s a life,” Pflug said. “We have to do something, you’re exactly right.”
Booten said she’s just looking for an additional two feet of protection across the counter. Folluo said that should go the full length of all the counters in the building.
Booten said Fort Madison police came in Monday and the two gentleman were there again and got a license, but police warned them not to come in again unless they had business there.
“Apparently, they were searching for these guys, again for another charge, because they ran out the back door and the police ran after them,” Booten said.
Supervisor Ron Fedler said maybe the two did the county a favor because now they can take action.
Lee County Conservation Director Nathan Unsworth said it’s not just the county building.
“Every office has challenges, right?. We have people that get out of jail, walk down the highway and stop in our office. That’s happened several times and motorists come in off the road to get help,” Unsworth said.
“It’s a problem. I don’t know if you can do everything to stop it.”
Booten said she understands that and is just looking for something to delay someone from doing harm.
“I think we’re all guilty of talking about it and talking about it and not taking any action,” Pflug said.
Board Chair Ron Fedler said it’s time to take action and instructed Booten to work with county maintenance to see what the costs look like and bring it back to the board.