Security For Judges - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/2/07 - Nacogdoches

Security For Judges

by Donna McCollum

District Judge Campbell Cox and other courthouse personnel are at risk of danger. U.S. Senator John Cornyn, the only former judge in Congress, calls them "impartial umpires". He says they deserve protection against threats of violence. Cornyn said while introducing the Court Security Improvement Act that,  " We must do everything in our power to provide adequate security for those men and women who are too often targeted for violence and harassment simply because of the position they hold and the decisions they are called upon to make."

There are a variety of circumstances that may lead to potentially dangerous situations. Judge Cox said,  " Whether it is family members who are upset, divorce suits and things like that." In such cases, Judge Cox can't help but disappoint some people. So he keeps three things in mind. First, use common sense to avoid dangerous situations for himself and his family.   He continued,  " Number two, make sure you have a properly trained bailiff and court security person. Number three, just keep good communication with your sheriff and commissioners court on ways to improve courthouse security."

Security is a top priority as the Nacogdoches County Courthouse undergoes renovation and expansion. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss said, " It will be a broader security enhancement, but at the same time that's going to bring some inconvenience for people. "

Some of the measures are metal detectors, one entrance in and one exit out. Added precautions, but according to Kerss,  " No secure system is 100% fool proof and you have to balance the level of security you have with the public convenience or inconvenience."

Certain and swift punishment, new resources for state and local courts security and enhanced witness protection are included in the Court Security Improvement Act. The security measures are a sign of the times.

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