CORONAVIRUS: Presentation of new potential screening process highlights Lyon County Commission meeting Featured

Lyon County Administrative Judge Merlin Wheeler presents before County Commissioners Thursday morning. Lyon County Administrative Judge Merlin Wheeler presents before County Commissioners Thursday morning. Tagan Trahoon/KVOE News

Information gathering is underway for a new potential screening process at the Lyon County Courthouse.

During the Lyon County Commission's weekly action session, Thursday morning Lyon County Administrative Judge Merlin Wheeler presented commissioners with the possibility of implementing a new centralized screening checkpoint within the courthouse for all visitors. The new electronic system would establish kiosks in the courthouse with I-pad's for visitors to fill out a virtual questionnaire for the screening process.

The system would then communicate to security personnel as to whether or not the individual passed the screening process thus granting or denying them access to the courthouse. During his proposal, Judge Wheeler was asked about concerns of lines forming for individuals looking to enter the courthouse and the ability to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Wheeler says there will be markings in place designating safe distances between individuals, however, he says much of the responsibility will fall on courthouse visitors themselves.


According to Wheeler, the total cost of the new system would be $5,000 per year, plus the installation and cost of equipment. The question was posed as to whether or not the cost was acceptable as the system will likely go unused once the coronavirus pandemic eases.

Wheeler says the cost of the system would be significantly less than having contact screening. Wheeler says the cost of staff for contact screening would be roughly $1,200 per week stating the new equipment is "pretty cost-effective" and requires no exposure to screeners.

Wheeler says the cost could be covered by district court, however, he has asked that all offices help to cover the cost of the equipment. As to whether he believes other offices will go along with this request Wheeler says it is uncertain at this time.

When asked his feelings on the new potential process Lyon County Commissioner Scott Briggs says it is too early to tell whether or not it will be effective.


District Court staff will be traveling to Topeka this week to get a better look at the system which is currently being used at the Kansas Judicial Center. Conversations are expected to continue between Wheeler and the county commission on the topic in the coming weeks.

In other business, commissioners held three executive sessions. The Lyon County Commission will reconvene for their weekly meeting next Thursday at 9 am inside the Lyon County Courthouse. That meeting will be available on the county's Facebook page.

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Last modified on Thursday, 21 May 2020 11:55