FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) –A courthouse is a symbol of justice but the Ben Hill County Sheriff says it can also be a dangerous place.
For years, the Ben Hill County courthouse had no security cameras. Thanks to a new grant, officers are now able to keep an eye on just about everything.
"Sometimes its dangerous leaving this courthouse going back and forth to your vehicles," said Sheriff Bobby McLemore.
And Sheriff Bobby McLemore says he's seen quite a few instances, "We've had instances during the sentencing phase where the suspect became very agitated and went ballistic on him and we had to down him here in the courtroom," said McLemore.
Instances where extra security is needed. "It would have been nice to have a camera where we would have seen some actions by the defendant that would let us now we were going to have a problem before it did happen," said McLemore.
Now thanks to a 44,000 dollar grant, a brand new security system has been installed in the Ben Hill County courthouse.
"We monitor every aspect of this courthouse, inside and out and one person can sit at the screen and watch all 16 cameras at one time," said McLemore.
The cameras are placed inside and out, "There is one on each side of the courthouse outside and one each hall and inside the courtroom inside," said McLemore.
And the cameras can zoom in, "They can run tag numbers out in the parking lot," said McLemore.
And even pan around. "It has recording capabilities too so we can go burn a DVD if there is anything we want to go back and look at," said McLemore.
To catch any suspicious action. "The camera system with men monitoring it downstairs, can forewarn us that something is fixing to happen," said Robert Champion, Courthouse Security.
"We take security at the courthouse very serious and having a camera system helps us do a better job," said McLemore.
"Anyone that goes in one of these doors or out one of these doors they are on camera," said McLemore.
The cameras are high quality and even have facial recognition.