Lowndes County enforces strict security in public buildings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes County enforces strict security in public buildings

July 30, 2003

Valdosta - The shooting of a New York City councilman prompted public buildings all over the country to take a closer look at security.

Van Hastings ensures that no guns, knives, or other weapons pass through Valdosta's municipal court in city hall. "We have a metal detector, wand, and we use them to screen everyone," said Hastings.

No matter what their status, every single person coming to court is screened. "We screen the judge, lawyers, mayor, city council members, doctors, John Q. Citizen, and all people coming into court," said Hastings. "Nobody gets a free pass through," said Hastings.

A block away at the county courthouse, security is just as tight. Not only are guests required to pass through the metal detector, their personal belongings are also screened in an x-ray scanner.

County employees say this security process is top of the line. "We consulted several security experts when we were considering this plan, and also received advice from our superior court judges who had done a lot of research," said Paige Dukes.

Dukes says people in Lowndes County should be safe at any public facility. Even the public health department has a metal detector.

"We've been very proactive in order to prevent having to be reactive," said Dukes.

Screeners in Lowndes County say they've never had a problem with people bringing in weapons. But if someone does try, their tight security measures will prevent a tragedy.

posted at 3:30 by ashley.harper@walb.com