Courthouse Security Controls At A Cost

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.

4 comments

  • Randy

    The alleged crime was against a political representative. Police are employees of political representatives and organizations. As a show of force and authority, it stands to reason the military police would be in full combat gear with assault weapons locked and loaded. It was not to protect but to show force and to intimidate. As a silent observer, I pray my family or I are never victimized by these pseudo military organizations.

  • jr

    i think that it was go that they had police there since his father is standing by him saying its not muder to him since they mad him made …. this could have been prevented if they left him alone … and then they condemed his property … and the very same people that condemed it bought his property …. what person wouldn’t been mad … everyone handels problems differently ….. but what he did was wrong as well it is murder … now there are families effected by the actions of the township they lost family … cause and effect

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