RUSSIAVILLE – Security officers will be returning to the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library.
The board of trustees Monday voted to spend $9,450 for the remainder of the year to either hire off-duty police officers to provide security or contract with a private security company.
Charles Joray, executive director of the library, said there has been an increase in the number of “incidents” reported by staff through the first three months of 2011. He said there were a total of 70 incidents last year – and 68 reported during the first three months of this year.
An incident was defined as a confrontation between a staff member and library patron about behavior in the library.
“When there were off-duty police officers, the number of incidents went down,” Joray said. “The staff feels intimidated by the patrons.”
Joray recommended hiring officers to work 15 hours per week at $18 per hour.
The hours worked by the security officers will be after school is dismissed each day. That is when most of the incidents are taking place, Joray said.
Joray said the officers will work a staggered schedule as in the past and could involve three hours a day for five days, or five hours a day for three days.
Board member Joe Dunlap recommended the library consider hiring a private security firm, which could increase the hours that security officers are available. He said Kokomo-Center schools use a private security company.
Joray said the library would balance the cost with the number of hours worked.
county offer rejected
In other business, the Feasibility Committee recommended the library board reject an offer from Howard County to lease space in the Government Annex.
Board member Susan Luttrell said instead of leasing the basement in the Administration Center, the county offered space now occupied by the Plan Commission for use by the library for materials management.