JAY – People who have business in the Delaware County Courthouse will need to allow extra time to enter the building as of January 1, 2009.

On that date, all the doors will be locked with the exception of the southern door.

As part of the new courthouse security system, a walk-through metal detector will be installed at the southern entrance and everyone entering the building will be required to walk through the detector.

An officer will be on duty at that door.

“People who have business in the courthouse and employees of the county, will all enter and exit through this one door. We suggest that you come early and leave metal objects at home or in your vehicle. This will speed up the process. Knives or any other object that could be used as a weapon will be taken from you at the door. You can pick it up on your way out,” said Delaware County Sheriff Jay Blackfox.

The metal detector will detect metal objects and where they are located.

Women who carry purses may be asked to open them for inspection.

All confiscated items will be held in a locked metal cabinet. If they aren’t claimed within 24 hours, they will be disposed of, Blackfox said.

“Absolutely no guns will be brought into the building. We don’t care if you have a concealed weapons permit,” he added.

 “This is the beginning phase of our new security system. Right now, all doors will be locked. There are security cameras installed in the building and panic buttons in place in each of the offices within the courthouse,” said Blackfox. “I want to assure the public that even though the doors are locked, they can still be used to leave the building in an emergency.”

Blackfox’s plan is to employ two part-time officers strictly for courthouse security. One officer will man the metal detector and the other will patrol the building.

“During jury selections, we will beef up the security by adding more officers with hand held metal detectors,” said Blackfox.

“This will work as long as everybody cooperates and is patient. The way to make the process easy is to get here a little earlier than you’d planned and leave your metal objects at home or in your vehicle,” Blackfox said.

Other phases of the plan include making the east door handicapped accessible and moving the metal detector to that door. At that time, the southern door will be locked.

Eventually, the plan calls for adding walls and doors, replacing non-secure windows, and building glassed-in work stations with paper passes and speaking holes.