Angelina Co. deputies start new security screenings at - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Angelina Co. deputies start new security screenings at courthouse

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Employees and visitors of the Angelina County Courthouse will now have to undergo a security screening by passing through a metal detector when entering the building.

The plan was first approved Sept.10, 2013 at the monthly commissioners' court meeting. The idea for the courthouse metal detector is a joint effort between the sheriff's department and commissioners. The project added approximately $160,000.

County Judge Wes Suiter says that the cost is worth it when you consider past shooting incidents such as the one at the Kaufman County Courthouse last February.

"With the way society is going today and with some of the issues we are having around the nation, state and local courthouses, we need to do what we can to make sure our employees and the public are safe when they come up here," Suiter said.

Everyone that enters the building will be subject to the scans and a strict no weapon policy is being enforced by the three deputies controlling the screening are, Joe Williams, Mark Champion and Christi Cochran.

"Even if they have a concealed handgun, that is not going to be allowed in the courthouse, as well as any type of knife or any type of weapon," Sanches said.

Sanches also added that if an item seems questionable, it is better to just leave it at home or in a vehicle outside.

"It's going to be a little inconvenient at first, but I think once people get used to it, they'll see and recognize the need for it," Suiter said.

The scans came as a surprise to those entering the building on Thursday, but one resident said if it keeps people safe it is worth it.

"You don't know people's mindset this day and age so, yes I feel very comfortable with it," courthouse visitor, Carl Kiel said.

Sanches also said that very soon they will be posting signs listing items considered illegal in the courthouse as a courtesy to all visitors and employees.

Another part of the security upgrades will be a desk at the front that allows the deputies to view all cameras on the property.

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