Security checkpoint begins at Bryan County courthouse - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Security checkpoint begins at Bryan County courthouse

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DURANT -- Weapons are no longer allowed at the Bryan County courthouse.

About a dozen pocket-knives were collected within hours of a new security checkpoint opening up inside the front entrance of the courthouse.

"There's a little bit of resistance but we expected that," Bryan County deputy John Bates said. "Most people realize it's for safety purposes."

Beginning April 7, all courthouse visitors will have to put personal belongings into an X-ray machine before walking through a metal detector.

Bryan County Commissioner Monty Montgomery says the goal is to keep weapons out of the courthouse.

"We want to be proactive, not reactive," Montgomery said. "We don't want an incident to occur in our courthouse where it can injure or kill someone in that courthouse."

Prohibited items include including guns, tools, scissors, box cutters and cork screws.

Anyone with those items were given the option of putting them back in their vehicles or keeping them at the checkpoint until they leave.

"It's pretty easy. I'm glad it'll keep things safer inside the courthouse," courthouse visitor Bobby McDade said.

But the front entrance isn't the only focus for security.

Soon even more surveillance cameras will be scanning the hallways of the courthouse.

Commissioners have also reduced the number of entrances to one and exits to two. 

Montgomery says the U.S. Marshals Service donated the X-ray machine and metal detector.

He expects the county to pay less than $1,000 to upgrade its software. A worthwhile investment, he says, if it means reducing the risk of violence in what can be a volatile environment.

"There's many issues such as child custody cases, divorce cases where people get very passionate about things inside a courtroom, inside a courthouse that may not happen in any other facility," Montgomery said. "We felt like if we could keep the weapons out, it's not going to calm those passions but it will put the law enforcement officers that are assigned to the security in the courthouse, it'll give them the opportunity to know those people that they have to confront in those cases will not be armed with a weapon."