By Aziza Jackson
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — WLOX reports that Hancock County has allocated over $700,000 for security upgrades at the Hancock County Courthouse.
County Administrator Eddie Favre tells WLOX that improvements include a new video surveillance system, metal detectors, and the installation of an enclosure that creates a new entrance with access to both the north and south sides of the courthouse.
This new entrance, WLOX reports, would be the only access point inside the building, and would shift the front and rear exits of the building to “exit only” use.
Favre tells WLOX that the main goal of the project is to put more safeguards in place for courthouse employees and county residents.
“We’re going to do everything we can,” said Favre, to WLOX. “You know, the sad thing is there’s some sick people around, and I don’t know if we can ever do enough to completely safeguard, but we’re going to do everything we possibly can from the surveillance cameras to the metal detectors and everything else. So hopefully it will be a situation where people will be safe, and they’ll feel safe.”
According to the National Center for State Courts, courthouses are extremely vulnerable to random acts of violence due to their centralized locations and accessibility to the public.
The NCSC website states, “Courts must have proper court security procedures, technology, personnel, and architectural features, to not only protect the safety of the people and property within and around the courts, but also the integrity of the judicial process. While there is no one solution to issues concerning court security, proper planning must involve collaboration with law enforcement offices, emergency agencies, and governing bodies. Courts must also have emergency management plans in place.”
WLOX reports that the Board of Supervisors is expected to award the contract for the new security upgrades at their next meeting on Monday, Aug. 6.
Favre tells WLOX that if approved, work on the courthouse would begin soon after that meeting, and could be finished as soon as Christmas.
A report from WLOX and information from the National Center for State Courts contributed to this story.