By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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County Parks, Fair and Facilities Director Joel Winborn included a sound-free camera for Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse in a list of 2014 capital and real estate excise tax projects and priorities.
“It’s not something that’s uncommon in areas or jurisdictions or agencies like ours,” Winborn said Monday.
“Given the use of this room, it makes sense to me that installing a video camera in here could be very helpful to us.”
The county does not charge the public for after-hours use of the meeting room on the main floor.
In return, users are expected to clean up after themselves and return the tables and chairs to their proper place.
“People take liberties with the overhead projector,” Winborn said.
“Lots of things happen in here after hours, and nobody knows who or what the reason for that was. There’s also, obviously, a safety component to that as well.”
The digital camera would be placed in a corner of the meeting room. Similar cameras are being used in the courtrooms and jail.
“When something happened, we could go back and look,” County Administrator Jim Jones said.
“Other than that, nobody’s monitoring.”
Commissioners Mike Chapman and Mike Doherty urged staff to crack down on those making a mess of the meeting room before installing a security camera.
“I’m not big on cameras all over the place,” Doherty said.
“Government’s got . . . I don’t now how many cameras around Port Angeles. And some, like the (City) Pier, maybe, might be needed, but it’s just not my favorite.”
Commissioner Jim McEntire was traveling Monday and missed the work session.
Jones said security cameras are part of an effort to add a blanket of security to the courthouse. Security became a hot topic after an attack on a Grays Harbor County sheriff’s deputy and judge at the courthouse in Montesano in March 2012.
“I also understood the concern and worry that we have people that come in here for our meetings that sometimes might not be comfortable being on camera,” Jones said.
“I’d just try to use other measures before we get a camera in here,” said Chapman.
In other discussion Monday, commissioners indicated support for an interlocal agreement with the Clallam Conservation District for Streamkeepers to do a water quality data analysis and prepare a quality assurance plan for future monitoring of the Sequim-Dungeness Clean Water District.
“I guess it’s a little bit of clean up and a little bit of prevention at the same time,” said Ed Chadd, Streamkeepers program coordinator.
Streamkeepers of Clallam County is a volunteer-based watershed-monitoring program.
The conservation district would reimburse the county a maximum of $10,000 for the work.
Chadd said the agreement is another attempt to identify and correct pollution in the east county.
“First of all there was the shellfish downgrade, and then there was the impaired water listing under the Clean Water Act,” Chadd said.
“And as a result, then you’ve got all these other players that came in. The good thing here is that we’re helping out to be part of the solution of this.”
County commissioners will consider approving the interlocal agreement Tuesday, April 15, while the conservation district will consider it in a meeting at 3 p.m. today.
Streamkeepers was moved from the auspices of the Community Development Department to Public Works and Roads in 2011.
County Engineer Ross Tyler said members of the Clean Water District will be trained to understand and access Streamkeepers data.
“Heaven forbid that Ed ever gets hit by a bus, but having additional people in the know is always good,” Tyler said.
“Hopefully we’re going to have a database that a lot of different people know how to use and have access to in some way,” said Chadd.
Jones said the continuation of consistent water quality data is “going to be valuable in a lot of other areas.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.