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Burnet County Courthouse COVID devices removed over camera concerns

Burnet County Courthouse South Annex

The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office has removed temperature scanners and a face-covering detection kiosk from the Burnet County Courthouse annexes after the sheriff and others voiced concerns regarding a camera on the devices. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office removed temperature scanners and face-covering detection devices from courthouse facilities after Sheriff Calvin Boyd and others voiced concerns over an aspect of the technology.

“The sheriff was uncomfortable with the camera portion of the scanners,” said sheriff’s office Capt. Chris Jett. He added that some residents also had concerns about the camera. “What we wanted to do was disable the camera, but we haven’t found a way to do that yet.”

When a person entered the Burnet County Courthouse annexes in Marble Falls or Burnet, a bailiff directed them to devices that took their temperature and determined if they were wearing a face covering. Jett said the technology allowed the bailiff to stay 6 feet away from visitors, a COVID-19 safety precaution.

The county purchased the devices in July 2020, and Jett believes they were installed in August. The sheriff’s office removed them on Monday, Feb. 1.

Jett said the sheriff’s office is working with the vendor to find a way to disable the camera. If that can be done, the devices will be reinstalled. 

“One suggestion was to just cover the camera up, but that doesn’t work,” Jett added. 

Visitors to the courthouse facilities still are required to have their temperature taken and wear face coverings.