Metal detectors & bag scanners coming to Lubbock Courthouse - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/21/10

Metal detectors & bag scanners coming to Lubbock County Courthouse

By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

Lubbock, TX (KCBD) – It's been talked about for years but soon you'll be able to see increased security measures at the Lubbock county courthouse. It's an effort to bring the building up to the standards so many other courthouses across the state have.

You can start looking for the changes at the doors on the east and west side of the building. You will have to walk through a metal detector and your bags will be scanned.

"At least in the state of Texas we are probably the largest county that does not have security equipment in it," said Commissioner Patti Jones, precinct four. The Lubbock county courthouse will start to look safer. "We've had it in the budget for three years and could not afford equipment or manpower but now we can afford it."

Expect what you see at airports or at the George Mahon federal building. In the coming weeks they will unwrap boxes and start testing equipment.

"An active shooter in a building like that is a situation none of us what to see," said Sheriff Kelly Rowe. His office is responsible for keeping the courthouse safe. He says tensions can be high in courtrooms you may not expect and the new equipment will help his deputies find what they cannot see. Sheriff Rowe's courthouse deputies patrol the building and already use a scan card system for employees to get in and out of the building. 

Bag screeners and metal detectors will be set up at the east and west entrances along with a designated exit door. "It's wide open and we are working on it to not hinder people coming in and out of the courthouse," said Jones.

Jones says it will be a small wait with a big return on safety. "It'll offer not only protection for those who work here but for visitors and people who sit in a jury room or who are attending something not knowing if someone has a gun or a knife or a lethal weapon."

People could start seeing the equipment as early as this week, but tentatively the machines will not be up and running until staff is trained and the machines are installed. Officials are still working on the specifics of the policies and procedures for the new security system.

Manpower for the new system will cost around a couple hundred thousand dollars and the machines are a onetime purchase of less than $100,000.

©2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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