• Lake Co. expanded courthouse will beef up security


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County's 155,000-square-foot addition to its courthouse has cost $40 million -- but taxpayers will have to dig a little deeper as it nears completion.

    Officials say that’s because the team of deputies assigned there now is not enough, and the expansion will require more armed security.

    Lt. John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the sheriff will ask the county commission for the money to bring in more manpower.

    "Right now, we'll be asking for roughly $110,000 to get us through the remainder of this fiscal year. We expect the increased cost to be about $230,000 for a full year," Herrell said.

    Twenty-three deputies are currently assigned to the courthouse, four of them at the front entrance. But it will take many more than that to secure the new addition.

    Right now, there are eight courtrooms in one building on one floor. The expansion pushes the total to 14 courtrooms in two buildings on multiple levels. The Sheriff’s Office wants to start with six additional officers, but they won't be sworn deputies. The plan is to hire a private security company.

    Licensed, armed guards will cover the front door and metal detectors and monitor 250 new security cameras.

    "Cost. Cost. It's cheaper to contract out with a private firm with civilian officers than it would be to use sworn deputies," Herrell said.

    Herrell said he has faith they'll do the job properly.

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    Lake Co. expanded courthouse will beef up security