Stepping up courthouse security - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Stepping up courthouse security

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March 10, 2006

Valdosta - If the Lowndes County Courthouse is open, you can bet that there’s a deputy keeping an close eye on everything that’s going on. "We have a camera surveillance system that views that perimeter and public accessible areas," said Judge Arthur McLane.

Last year’s deadly shootings at the Fulton County Courthouse caused everyone involved in the judicial system to take a second look at security. It was especially important for Judge Arthur McLane, who was a friend of Judge Rowland Barnes. "It was a great loss to the judicial system and legal system in the state of Georgia," said McLane.

But out of that loss came a renewed effort to make sure other courthouses are protected. In Lowndes County, everyone going in and out of the courthouse must now pass through a metal detector. "We have a hand-held metal detector that can be used to follow up on an initial alarm by the metal detector," said McLane.

And purses, briefcases, or any other bags have to go through an x-ray machine. "We enhanced our equipment, enhanced our training," said McLane.

Another way security has increased is through controlled entrances. All the doors on the sides of the courthouse stay locked, and visitors can only come in and out through one main door.

And there’s many more details in the security procedures here, but those are kept private to make sure no one tries to beat the system. Judge McLane says its enough to make him feel safe every time he steps into the courtroom. "The Lowndes County Courthouse is in much better shape than the overwhelming majority of courthouses in the whole state," said McLane.

And even though no system is full proof, he’s confident that with the extra measures they’ve taken in the last year, everyone that passes through these doors will be protected.

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