By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thanks to a new appropriation from County Commissioners, visitors to the Cleveland County Courthouse will find entry more convenient but just as secure.

Commissioners recently approved the spending of a quarter of a million dollars for the Sheriff to hire a private security firm to operate courthouse entry procedures.

Bids from private firms were due Friday. Whichever firm is hired will take over security at the west public entrance, as well as at the east entrance, which has been closed to the general public for several months.

The east entrance was closed to the public after defendant Troy Leal tried to kill himself in court with a hidden box knife. Shortly after that incident, the public was only allowed to enter through a metal detector at the west entrance, which was manned by deputies.

"When we put the current security in place at that time, that was a temporary solution, knowing that we would go to a better solution in the future," said Cleveland County Undersheriff Rhett Burnett.

The hiring of a private firm will allow deputies for other duties.

"This potentially frees up five deputies that I brought in from the field that can go back to the field and start working the streets again," Burnett said.