JAY – Delaware County citizens encountered new security measures at the Delaware County Courthouse Monday.
All in all, people who had business at the courthouse that day reported that the changes made things “a little hectic,” but that everything ran smoothly.
The new courthouse security system that went into effect Monday morning includes a walk-through metal detector at the southern entrance, which is overseen by an officer.
People may no longer enter through the others doors, which have been locked.
“Those people who have business in the courthouse and those employed by 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.
Women who carry purses may be asked to open them for inspection.
All confiscated items will be held in a locked metal cabinet, Blackfox said. If they aren’t claimed within 24 hours, they will be disposed of.
“Absolutely no guns will be brought into the building. We don’t care if you have a concealed weapons permit,” said Blackfox.
“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,” Blackfox added. “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 concluded.
Other plans yet to be implemented include making the east door handicapped accessible and moving the metal detector to that door. At that time, the southern door will be locked.
Other plans include adding walls, doors, replacing non-secure windows, and glassed-in work stations with paper passes and speaking holes.