Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

April 4, 2013

County steps up courthouse security

Metal detectors in use; single-entry not far away

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Navarro County is taking steps to secure its courthouse in light of recent events in Kaufman, although the discussion has been going on for some time.

County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. said Thursday that anyone entering a courtroom at the courthouse is now being screened with a metal detector, and are being asked to empty their pocket contents.

Additionally, a metal detector has also been placed at the basement handicapped/delivery ramp to screen those entering the courthouse for weapons.

And, that entry at the northwest corner of the courthouse, may soon become the only entrance to the building.

“We are moving in that direction,” Davenport said.

These steps are just the first of many to come, Davenport told the Daily Sun Thursday. An X-ray machine the county obtained from another county is being set up for future use as well.

Davenport also reminded those coming to the courthouse that holders of concealed handgun licenses are not allowed to carry a weapon in the courthouse. Knives or other weapons are also banned.

“That is state law,” he said. “It is for any building where there is a court,” he explained of the ban on weapons, even for the holder of a concealed permit.

“You may find yourself a guest of the Navarro County Jail,” Davenport said in a Facebook post, should a person be found with weapons inside the courthouse.

Davenport said preparations are underway for more security measures to be enacted to help secure the courthouse, although he did not specify what those measures were.

“Everywhere I go, I get asked about it,” he said.

Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner recently briefed county commissioners on the findings of an independent safety and security audit conducted at the courthouse. Tanner said he has been concerned about courthouse security for some time.

“Any action taken will improve the security of the facility,” Tanner said.

Tanner said the commissioners were receptive to the issues raised in the briefing.

“I look foward to working with the commissioners court to continue to improve the security of the courthouse,” Tanner said.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com