Cook County Lands Safe & Secure Courthouse Initiative Grant
Jun 30, 2017 03:04PM ● Published by Editor
“Tragically we know firsthand that courthouse violence is a very real threat and communities like Cook County are not immune to these incidents,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “Courthouses can be emotional, volatile places – places where people are often experiencing the worst days of their lives. The Cook County Courthouse Security Committee put together a comprehensive grant application to make several security upgrades to make greater strides in our Courthouse Security here locally.”
National studies suggest that courthouse violence has increased significantly in the past decade. The Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative marks the first time in history that Minnesota has taken a statewide approach to addressing the issue of courthouse security and recognizes that courthouse security protects citizens accessing both County and State government services, and both county and state employees.
“Every day, several citizens enter their county courthouse to seek justice, protect their rights, access government services, and fulfill a variety of duties as citizens and taxpayers,” said Molly Hicken, County Attorney. “It is crucial that these facilities are well-protected, and that citizens feel they can access their local courthouse safely and securely. In addition, thousands of public employees work in courthouses every day to deliver essential government services and administer our system of justice in the state. As their employer, state and county governments have an obligation to ensure their safety.”
Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative Grants will help fund a variety of courthouse security improvements, including:
- Helping counties conduct professional security assessments of their facilities;
- Providing security training to courthouse officials and staff;
- Installing bullet-resistant glass at public service counters;
- Replacing aging security equipment;
- Implementing door locks, cameras, key card readers, and duress alarms; and
- Installing or upgrading security screening stations at courthouse entrances.