Thomas County tests courthouse security equipment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas County tests courthouse security equipment

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June 12, 2006

Thomasville-  A mandate by the Georgia General Assembly requires all Sheriff's Offices to have courthouse security plans in place by July first.  The Thomas County Sheriff's Office is trying out some new security measures at their courthouse.

With at least five entrances to the Thomas County Courthouse security inside its courtrooms and for its employees is a big concern.

"It could be more secure, and that's what we're operating off of, it's such an old building and it has so many entrances into it," said Capt. John Richards, Thomas Co. Sheriff's Office

The Sheriff's Office is testing the first of several security devices to ensure courthouse safety, the Secure Scan two.

The device is simple, walk through the door of the courthouse, and if there's something metal in your pocket or on your wrist a warning flashes, and deputies know whether you have anything from a cell phone to keys on your person.

"There will be a table set up where they'll empty their pockets, we'll make sure they have no other objects on them, and they'll obviously need to give them back to them or they'll have to take it to their vehicle," said Sgt. Charles Haire, Thomas Co. Sheriff's Office.

Objects like pocket knives, firearms, or bullets would be prohibited from the courthouse. While the device is still being tested to see if it's the right fit for Thomas County, Sheriff's deputies can see the benefits of the system.

"It stores its information if something was to happen in a courtroom that we can go back and retrieve information," said Richards. 

For the next 30 days the device will keep guard over the courthouse's north first story entrance. The Sheriff's Office will decide if the equipment will suite the county's need, but that could change if voters see fit to approve SPLOST funding for a new courthouse. 

The cost for just one of the Secure Scan, two devices is approximately $12,000.

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