STROUDSBURG — The boost in police security at the Monroe County Courthouse on Thursday came at a cost to taxpayers.
Stroud Area Regional Police, a bomb squad, and SWAT team stood guard during a court hearing for a man charged with a deadly mass shooting at a township meeting three months ago.
The captain of the Stroud Area Regional Police says it cost taxpayers $2,400 to keep Monroe County Courthouse secure during the hearing.
While the police believe it was needed, some taxpayers disagree.
It was business as usual at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg on Friday. The streets were open to traffic, parking was available, and security staff was back to normal.
It was a different story Thursday when dozens of Stroud Area Regional Police officers and their SWAT team members were standing guard at the courthouse, along with bomb sniffing dogs. They say this was all to make sure the hearing for Rockne Newell was safe and secure for him, his victims, and the community.
Newell now faces trial, accused of opening fire at a Ross Township supervisors meeting in August, killing three people and injuring others.
The total cost for security at the courthouse was $2,400 in overtime for the Stroud Area Regional police department.
“We have been questioned if all the security in place was really necessary and to be honest with you, I’d rather be asked that question and nothing happen then to have somebody say ‘why wasn’t there security?” if something did happen,” said Stroud Area Regional Police Captain Briam Kimmins.
Capt. Kimmins says the request for all the security came from the president judge, the sheriff’s office, and the district attorney’s office.
No incidents were reported and at least one taxpayer is glad his tax dollars went to all the security.
“You have to have security. You don’t know when this man is going to snap or what he’s going to do,” said William Ferrer of Stroudsburg.
But other taxpayers say the security increase was a waste of their money.
“I see they’d want the extra security and all, but I think it was overkill,” said Derek Hay of Effort.
“I think it was taxpayer dollars, a little too, he was obviously in cuffs and what can he do?” asked Susan Kellenbenz of Stroudsburg.
“The guy is already in custody, it sounds like overkill to me,” said Kristy O’Neil of Stroudsburg.
“We had a mass shooing in Ross Township. What (are) the chances of that happening? Using that same equation, I had to use that perspective for the security precautions we put in place yesterday,” Capt. Kimmins added.
Capt. Kimmins says the police force stayed in place for about a half hour after Rockne Newell left the courthouse to go back to prison as a safety precaution.
Some have questioned why Newell was not wearing a protective vest on Thursday.
No one was able to provide an answer.