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Cook County Lands Safe & Secure Courthouse Initiative Grant

Jun 30, 2017 03:04PM ● By Editor
Media Release from Cook County Minnesota - June 30, 2017
Cook County was selected among 57 grant awardees under the new Minnesota Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative following a successful application for security improvements at the courthouse in Grand Marais. 

“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.
 Cook County has active Courthouse Security, Employee Safety & Wellness and Emergency Preparedness Committees that are continually working towards improvements, training and relevant plans to be better prepared and protect our employees and citizens. Over the last several years, the County has engaged in regular drills, increasingly specialized trainings and have highly trained responders including a recent certification in Active Shooter Response Instruction and Curriculum delivery. The grant will fund several security upgrades identified by the Courthouse Security Committee at the Cook County Courthouse; however, for security reasons details of the projects will not be discussed.


Sheriff Pat Eliasen, 218-387-3030 or [email protected]

County Attorney Molly Hicken, 218-387-3670 or [email protected]

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