The executive director of the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) expects officials in many of Iowa’s 99 counties will be reevaluating their courthouse security measures following the fatal shooting Tuesday in Jackson County.
Bill Peterson says it’s been a few years since the ISAC has surveyed its members on the use of metal detectors or other methods to screen visitors entering county buildings. “But, I would say the vast majority of counties do not have any security that would evaluate whether or not an individual was bringing a weapon into a county facility, whether it’s the administration building or the county courthouse,” Peterson says.
A Maquoketa man shot himself on Tuesday inside the Jackson County Courthouse. Authorities say 71-year-old Francis Glaser — upset about a property tax assessment — went to a board of supervisors meeting and fired a shot at the county assessor. He missed and was then tackled to the ground. Glaser shot himself in the head, but investigators aren’t sure if he intended to kill himself or if he was trying to shoot others.
The Jackson County Courthouse does not have permanent security measures. Peterson says most counties simply can’t afford the necessary machines or manpower. “I think it does, in many cases, become just a financial decision that they would not provide that,” Peterson says.
The Jackson County sheriff said Glaser did not have a permit to purchase or carry a gun. Glaser was the former city manager of Maquoketa.