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Security cameras in Justice Center GET THE AXE

Security cameras in the Justice Center offices of County Circuit Court Clerk Karen Guinn and Clerk and Master Brenda Sneyd will most likely be removed because both officials feel uncomfortable with the cameras’ presence.
At a public safety committee meeting last week, both Guinn and Sneyd questioned why their offices have cameras, while District Attorney Tony Clark and Juvenile Courts Director Jeff Berry did not have cameras installed in their Justice Center offices.
The camera in Sneyd’s office “is pointed directly on my employee’s heads,” Sneyd said. “I don’t think we need them in the offices. They feel afraid to even adjust a bra strap. My employees’ morale is more important to me.”
The meeting was called because employees in the offices had been taping over and disconnecting the cameras, said Public Safety Chairman Pete Speropulos.
Sheriff Ed Graybeal said at the meeting he wanted to make it known that his office would not be responsible for anything that happened while the cameras were disconnected or taped over.
“We didn’t want to have a hostage situation here and me be asked why the cameras aren’t working,” Graybeal said. “I want to let everyone know we didn’t shut them off. Ed Graybeal and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office are not going to get blamed.”
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.
“Nobody cares what’s on them,” he said. “To me, it’s childish. I can’t do my job because the security cameras are taped up. The cameras are in there for a reason.”
Guinn and Sneyd said they did not have a problem with the hallway cameras, which are not being taped up or turned off by office employees, and that those hallways cameras should capture everything needed to maintain security.
It’s not a safety issue, Sneyd said.
“I feel so much safer here than in the other courthouse,” Sneyd said. “We’re all glassed in. We don’t need the cameras.”
Both Guinn and Sneyd said they would be responsible for their offices.
“It doesn’t make a difference to me what you do with the cameras,” Graybeal said. “But it’s not your office. It belongs to the people of Washington County.”
However, according to County Attorney John Rambo, the offices do belong to the officials who currently occupy them.
“In the officials’ offices, those are their offices which they control,” Rambo said. “They make the decisions. The hallways are under charge of the sheriff.”
Graybeal said he would support taking the cameras completely out rather than having them taped up or disconnected at the camera
“Give them to someone who wants them,” said committee member Kyle Shell. “I question your judgment but it’s your decision.”
Shell said the committee realized that after what Rambo said, it didn’t have any choice but to allow the cameras to be removed from the officials’ offices.
“Our decision was to have the sheriff take them out and relocate them to places other people would like to have them,” he said.
The public safety committee’s report on the meeting will have to be approved by the full commission on May 24, and Shell said he expects more discussion then.