Courthouse security additions a wise move

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Visitors to the Grant County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Office now have added security with a metal detector and bag X-ray. Monday was the first day the new measures were put into place.

This is a wise move on the part of the County Commissioners. The additions weren’t cheap, costing a total of about $172,200 for two metal detectors, an X-ray machine and four security guards, two full-time guards at the Law and Justice Center at the courthouse and two part-time guards in juvenile court. The additions were needed and came because judges, employees and members of the public expressed their concerns about safety.

Visitors should expect to have their bags and purses scanned before entering the building. Guards are currently required to look for weapons, drugs and drug paraphernalia but this will likely grow in the future to address other safety threats.

While the sight of metal detector and armed guards may be off-putting to some, the additions are a sign of the times we live in. Courthouse security and safety are a specialized field and it would be naive not to recognize the dangers involved with keeping the courthouse safe. In fact, the National Sheriffs’ Association has its own Institute for Court Security offering court security training and resources.

Grant County is using security guards from the Spokane-based Phoenix Protective Corp., which has provided security for the Omak Stampede, a major utility, banks, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office and a nonprofit.

We think the added security is a step in the right direction and thank those responsible for listening to the public and employees they serve. We ask the public to remember that the measures are in place for everyone’s safety, including the general public, county employees and judicial staff.

— Editorial Board

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