Candidates for Muscatine Co. Sheriff debate courthouse security

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MUSCATINE COUNTY, Iowa-- It only takes a walk around the block to see this town painted in political signs. It's a race to see who will be the new Muscatine County Sheriff.

Current Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan is running against Muscatine County Deputy Michael Channon.

One of the most debated topics so far is courthouse security.

Right now the building is patrolled by one deputy with no metal detectors.

"It's a three floor courthouse. It's inadequate. We have no other security measures but him," says Channon.

Sheriff Ryan says adding things like extra manpower and metal detectors are too pricey and unnecessary.

"We're probably talking upwards of $300,000 to $400,000 to put that in place. And it's an area of the courthouse where traditionally, we don't have a lot of troubles," says Ryan.

Opponent Michael Channon says his plan would only cost a third of what Sheriff Ryan predicts.

"There are so many grants out there we can apply for, and federal government would give money to do this," says Channon.

They're drawing the line on how much security is too much.

"We can't live in fear, and certainly we know the courthouse is an environment where sometimes tempers are raised, some volatile situations might come up, and we recognize that. And we try to handle that on a case by case basis," says Ryan.

Or, they're deciding not to draw that line on safety at all.

"Protection is the key word, and no one's getting the protection they need at the courthouse. It's not a matter of if it's going to happen, it's when. And what is the price tag for someone's safety? For me, it doesn't matter," says Channon.

The election is on Tuesday, November 8.