New Grady courthouse security - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New Grady courthouse security

Cairo- There are some new security changes at the Grady County Courthouse. Judges asked for them after the courtroom shooting-spree that claimed the lives of four people in Atlanta almost two weeks ago.

     A long line in the lobby of the Grady County Courthouse is the first sign of new security measures there. Judges say it's a necessary change even in a county as small as this one. "Since the scare in Atlanta, all of the small courthouses have been doing something about security," says Probate Court Judge Sadie Voyles.

     Courthouse security is run by the Sheriff's Office. Deputies are working overtime during grand jury. But Sheriff Harry Young says taking the proactive approach is never too expensive. "Unless you search them, anyone can bring any kind of weapon in. You can bring any kind of knife, you can have an ankle holster," he says.

     People are met with the new security as soon as they enter the lobby of the courthouse. The first step is to empty your pockets for the deputies to search. Next, you step through a metal detector. If that goes off, you then face a wand search. "If they feel like they've taken everything out, say they've got a big belt buckle or something that goes off, they can wand them and find out exactly what the problem is," says Young.

     Before the changes, the security at the courthouse was limited to several armed deputies who had to handle everything. "No matter what the situation is, you never know what button you're going to push, and how they're going to respond," says Voyles. That's why Judges say security is a matter better safe than sorry.

     Everyone entering the courthouse, except for law enforcement, must now use the front doors. Plus, every inmate will remain handcuffed and shackled at all times while in the courthouse.

Posted by stephen.ryan@walb.com

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