Harrison County To Beef Up Courthouse Security - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/14/05

Harrison County To Beef Up Courthouse Security

Harrison County deputies in Judge Steve Simpson's courtroom, and those in the hallway behind the courtroom, kept watchful eyes on everyone and everything Monday.

"We have security both in the back and in the front and we're just paying a little bit more attention of what's going on around us right now," Deputy Jim Randall says.

That's because the Atlanta courthouse shootings have court personnel and deputies on high alert.

"Last week's events brought it even more to the forefront and the need for extra security and better security in this particular courthouse," Judge Steve Simpson says.

Judge Simpson is presiding over one case. Tuesday another murder trial starts in the same courthouse. Different cases require a different level of security.

"We have the potential for two sets of victims' families and two sets of defendants' families, as well as witnesses, all in a very confined space, and the need for extra security became obvious."

The Harrison County Supervisors agree extra security is a must. The board voted to take bids on the cost of putting guards at metal detectors in both courthouses. The detectors are in place, but are unmanned and unused.

"We want to make sure that those people we select have the quality of people that we want, as well as the proper uniforms, so when you come in you know that they are in fact security people working in the courthouse," board president Bobby Eleuterius says.

The supervisors expect to know within a month how much it will cost to hire security officers to man the metal detectors. Eleuterius says the board has yet to decide if those guards will be armed.

byMarcia Hill

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