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Monday, Oct. 24, 2016

Added Courthouse security measures to begin next month

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Holt toggles between video images of courthouse rooms from the security room on the first floor.
Tougher security measures are set to be in place by mid-March for the Dyer County Courthouse.

Residents will notice metal detectors, video surveillance, magnetic locks and more visible law enforcement presence as part of the plan, said Dyer County Sheriff' Jeff Holt.

"We want to make people aware now they're going to have to change their behavior when they have business in the Courthouse," said Holt. "We want to disrupt their lives the least we can, but we have to weigh the demands of security in today's world, too. It makes everyone safer."

Holt said funding for the security, from the Tennessee Judicial Conference Security Committee, came as courthouses and public buildings have been the sites of several shootings in recent years.

A meeting on Tuesday was held with all county officers to explain the plan.

"There's no reason what happened in Kirkwood, Mo., or Kingston, Tenn. or Atlanta, Ga. couldn't happen here," Holt said.

Holt said people coming to the Courthouse should use the west entrance, which will be the only available entrance. The other three doors will be exit doors only and locked with two-ton magnetic locks.

Video surveillance of the entire property is digitally recorded for immediate retrieval if necessary, said Holt.

The entrances to the basement offices of the county mayor and county trustee will remain open for public access.

Holt urged education for the new security plan.

"We're in the country and it's nothing for someone to have a pocket knife in their pocket," said Holt. "We're just asking them to leave it at home."

At least two deputies will be reassigned for the security plan, said Holt, in addition to the bailiffs in circuit and chancery courts.

Dyer County received $27,000 for the security measures, which was paid from the state grant. The county matched the grant with $3,000.

The funding comes from a 2006 law that mandated a $2 increase on court continuance requests, from $5 to $7.

"We just ask for people to be patient and understand what this is about," said Holt. "It's going to make everyone safer."

The tentative start date for the new security plan is Tuesday, March 11, said Holt.

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