Grays Harbor Co. vulnerable after courthouse security mandates?

MONTESANO, Wash. -- Could judicial orders over courthouse security compromise safety for the rest of Grays Harbor County? The sheriff's office and county commissioners believe it is.

These days at the Gray's Harbor Courthouse, private security guards and a metal detector greet visitors. None of that was there last month when investigators say Steven Kravetz attacked Deputy Polly Davin, wrestling away her duty gun, and then wrestled with Judge Dave Edwards.

Both received minor injuries and are back on the job.

But long before the attack ever sent this normally quiet area into lockdown, the superior court judges had questioned the lack of courthouse security. Now it's become a line in the sand between the court and the county.

"We are not bad guys," said Grays Harbor County Commissioner Mike Wilson. "We are the people who have to make the final decisions on how the money is spent in this county."

The Monday after the attack, the judges issued an order requiring two armed sheriff's deputies at a minimum in the courthouse from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.

"We would have been here anyway, whether they'd have given us a court order or not," said Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott.

Two weeks later, the judges ordered a metal detector installed - which commissioners and sheriff's office say was already on the way.

So now there's a metal detector, at least two private security guards, and at least two armed deputies inside the courthouse at all times.

All that security costs money, but aside from the money, the sheriff's office says the drain on deputies means there aren't always enough to adequately patrol the county.

"It's not safe for us, it's not safe for the community," Scott said.

The judges won't comment because they and the commissioners are now suing each other over the issue. And tax payers will be paying that bill as well.

The sheriff's office says they've already spent more than $20,000 for the extra deputies just last month, and the county estimates it could cost up to $150,000 for the private security.