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NCJ Number
Sheriff Volume: 45 Issue: 6 Dated: (November-December 1993) Pages: 6,10-16
B Meeks; J Brashear; L McMicking; T Wise
Date Published
9 pages
The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), under the direction of its current president, has established a Court Security and Process Service/Transportation of Prisoners Committee to address the problem of courtroom security. The agenda for the Committee's first meeting will include: (1) a training program for court security personnel; (2) staffing issues for efficient and effective courtroom security; (3) a courtroom security publication for court security personnel; and (4) an auxiliary/associate organization of court security officers affiliated with NSA.
Other articles concern measures taken in Maricopa County, Arizona, to deter courtroom violence; the effectiveness of weapons screening using metal detectors and the x-ray system; and incentives for increasing security in the courtroom. To prevent weapons in courtrooms and to respond swiftly to disturbances during trials, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has instituted special procedures. People who enter a Maricopa County court building must pass through a metal detector; only judges and court employees wearing identification picture badges are exempt. During sensational trials, everyone entering the courtroom is checked again by sheriff's deputies using hand-held metal detectors and an armed deputy is posted in the courtroom. Each of the County's 68 courtrooms is equipped with silent alarm buttons--one at the judge's bench, one at the clerk's desk, and a third in court offices. To tighten up on rules against weapons in the courtroom, even on-duty police officers are forbidden to bring their service pistols past the metal detectors. Metal detectors and an x-ray system are effective weapons screening devices when operated effectively and correctly, and are of proven psychological value. At least five Federal cases have upheld the screening and search as legal under the U.S. Constitution. After two lawyers were killed by a gunman in the Tarrant County, Texas, Courthouse, the county took measures to increase courthouse security. It purchased 11 walk-through metal detectors, 60 hand-held metal detectors, and six x-ray machines to be located in the old courthouse, the administration building, the probation building, the Justice Center, the civil courthouse, the probation building, and the youth court.