After years of deliberation, the Cooper County Commissioners approved a mass upgrade of security measures for the Cooper County Courthouse.

“With everything that’s going on in the world, you have to consider the safety of your employees,” said Larry Oerly, director of Cooper County’s Emergency Management Agency.

Installation of electronic locks on the exterior doors of the courthouse has already begun, and the system should be operational by June 1. These changes, which were recommended to the commissioners by the Courthouse Security Committee, were designed to increase the security of the elected officials, employees and visitors to the courthouse. The process is expected to cost more than $20,000. Upon completion, there will be limited public access to the courthouse during and after business hours.

After this project is complete, public access will be limited to the High Street door to the main courthouse. This door is handicap accessible and will be monitored during business hours, and visitors will still be able to exit through any of the exterior doors. Law Enforcement Center visitors will enter off of High Street and be “buzzed in” from the detention center.

On Thursday’s and election days, the driver’s testing and voting area will be open, but access to the main courthouse and sheriff’s office will be limited.

“We know it’s going to be a little less convenient for people, but we’re doing our best to keep things as easy as possible without sacrificing safety,” Oerly said.