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Steps to Best Practices for Court Building Security

NCJ Number
Timothy F. Fautsko; Steven V. Berson; James F. O'Neil; Kevin W. Sheehan
Date Published
February 2010
35 pages
This report from the National Center for State Courts presents information on best practices for developing court building security.
This report presents a step-by-step approach to implementing best practices for court building security. The report was developed by the National Center for State Courts, through the work of its Court Consulting Division, which conducts security assessments of court buildings throughout the country. The report focuses primarily on best practices for dealing with security matters at court buildings. The best practices are organized by a series of steps, phases, topics, and categories so that courts can incrementally implement the practices at their discretion and in keeping with scarce budgetary resources. The steps are the specific actions that courts can take to improve security, while the phases are logical groupings of steps. The topics are subject areas into which steps in phases are organized, and the four categories are sets of topics listed in priority order. The categories and topics are 1) Category A: Fundamental topics - command and control center, policies and procedures, and security committee; 2) Category B: Extremely Important topics - access of people into court building, after-hours access to court building, chambers, courtrooms, court security officer (CSO) staffing levels, duress alarms, threat and incident reporting, in-custody defendants, and training; 3) Category C: Very Important topics -closed circuit television (CCTV), emergency equipment and procedures, interior access during business hours (circulation zones), intrusion alarms, jurors, parking (particularly for judges), and public counters and offices; and 4) Category D: Important topics - cash handling, exterior/interior patrols, perimeter issues, public lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and elevators, and screening mail and packages.