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February 15, 2017—Saline County facilities and citizens in downtown Benton will be safer as of Tuesday, February 21st, according to County Judge Jeff Arey.  Arey said that his new courthouse security plan will be in full effect after the holiday weekend.  The county has added four new full-time courthouse security officers, and as of Tuesday, there will be manned security checkpoints with metal detectors at the two court buildings and a full-time security officer in the County Office Annex.  The plan includes regulating public access to the main courthouse through two entrances:  the East Side across from the Courthouse Annex building and the West Side at the top of the handicap-accessible ramp through the sliding doors. 

            Arey explained, “We’ve been going through a slow rollout of the plan for the past few weeks as we’ve brought on the new staff and equipment, and we’re very pleased with the results.  The public has been very understanding, and everything has gone smoothly.  I think in these days and times everyone understands the importance of keeping the public, our employees, and elected officials safe.  A little bit of inconvenience is a small price to pay for security.”  

The plan was conceived last year by Circuit Judge Robert Herzfeld, who also serves as the Administrative Judge for Saline County. Herzfeld and Arey worked to fine-tune the details over a period of months and the measure was fully funded by the Quorum Court with the passage of the 2017 budget last December.  County Collector Joy Ballard is assisting with the some of the new personnel costs out of her office budget.  Ms. Ballard is also funding a new security position for the Arkansas Revenue office in Bryant, which houses DF&A driver’s license services as well as some County Collector’s Office and County Assessor’s Office employees.  This position has not been filled, and the application deadline has been extended through February 23rd.  Individuals with law enforcement/security experience and good people skills are encouraged to apply.  The job carries a salary range of $11.32 - $12.74 per hour plus benefits.  Interested applicants for these positions may contact Christy Peterson at 303-5658 or or pick up an application  at the Saline County HR/Personnel Office, Saline County Courthouse, Room 112, 200 N. Main, Benton, AR  72015.