Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

County Attorney: Officials have right to remove cameras

It appears Circuit Court Clerk Karen Guinn and Clerk and Master Brenda Sneyd will have the security cameras removed from their Justice Center offices after they said the surveillance was making them and their employees uncomfortable.
At the May 24 Washington County Commission meeting, County Attorney John Rambo restated his opinion that the county officials controlled their own offices, and while the Sheriff’s Department has authority over the hallway cameras and public spaces, the officials could determine what went on inside the walls of their offices.
“I feel like it’s best if the cameras are removed,” Rambo said. “It’s within their prerogative and power to decide.”
Guinn and Sneyd attended a Public Safety Committee meeting earlier in May, where they told commissioners they didn’t understand why their offices were the only ones that contained cameras. The officials said the cameras affected employee morale and could also capture sensitive information that is not public record. They also added they have an issue with being monitored by a member of the center’s maintenance team.
The camera issue was brought to light because employees in the offices had been taping over and disconnecting the cameras.
Sheriff Ed Graybeal, who attended the public safety meeting, said he did not care if the cameras were disconnected, but he did not want his office to be held responsible if anything happened while the cameras were not functioning. He added he didn’t see what the issue was with the cameras, and explained they were not monitored all the time – and if they were, he trusts his employees – so the office employees had nothing to worry about.
Rambo’s first opinion in the public safety meeting was that elected ocunty officials controlled their own offices.
After the meeting, he took the question to CTAS attorneys, whose decision was “inconclusive,” he said.
“My opinion remains unchanged,” Rambo said at the county commission meeting.
Circuit Court Chancellor G. Richard Johnson, who was on the committee that helped determine the design of the center, said the cameras were an “afterthought by someone.”
“We advocated for as many cameras as we could get when the building was being constructed,” Johnson said. “These were an afterthought by someone. They were not part of the plan when we built the building.”
He said the cameras should be used for someone who wants them in their offices.