Real need for judicial building
March 8, 2017
In 1910, when the Douglas County Courthouse in Genoa essentially burned to the ground, there were whispers that it would be a good time to move the county seat.
Instead, commissioners decided to rebuild the courthouse, then occupied it for another five years before an effort to move the county seat to Minden was successful.
Thanks to that effort, county taxpayers had to pay for the construction of both courthouses at very nearly the same time.
We feel that keeping the jail, sheriff's office and the courtrooms in the same building is a critical component to the future of Douglas County law enforcement.
Spending $5 million renovating the jail in the Judicial & Law Enforcement Building less than 10 years ago seems to indicate that facility will be at its current site for the foreseeable future.
The question is where do the other departments currently housed there go in order to make enough room.
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We agree that having the District Attorney's Office in the building is handy, but question whether it is necessary. Does the Juvenile Probation Office need to be there? We know both offices would prefer to be closer to the action, but keeping them there could cost millions in additional dollars.
Barry Penzel's suggestion for building a single structure for all the county offices is an attractive proposition, but we've watched as the Douglas County School Board has tried to sell Kingsbury Middle School for years. That leads us to question the marketability of either the Minden Inn or the law enforcement building when there's lots of other commercial office space available along Highway 395.
We know how close the quarters are in the Judicial & Law Enforcement Building. We accept that a fourth courtroom and the means to keep perpetrators separate from victims and witnesses are critical to the furtherance of justice here.
But finding the money to do this work is going to be a challenge.