With what seems like a recent string of courthouse shootings, security is a major concern for many courthouse employees. That has courts across America re-evaluating their security measures and Brazos County is no different.
" I think for the most part this is a secure and safe environment for our court system, but that's not to say with these recent events that we aren't concerned, said Sheriff Chris Kirk, who oversees security for the Brazos County Courthouse.
He says after hearing the news of the Atlanta Courtroom shootings, which killed a judge, court reporter, and a deputy, he thought about the way things are done here.
The county jail is located inside the courthouse so inmates don't have far to go to make it to court.
Inmates go from a holding cell, to a private elevator, and then to the courtroom. Most are escorted in handcuffs by a courtroom bailiff, but when dealing with high profile or violent offenders, a sheriff's deputy may serve as an extra escort. Depending on the nature of the case, an escort may carry a gun.
It's up to the judge to decide what type of security measures they want in their courtroom. Once an inmate is here, the handcuffs are removed, but other restraint devices could be used.
" We have a leg brace that actually locks when you stand, so you can't bend your knee. We also have a rack belt and it's an electronic belt that sends a surge of electricity through the inmate and that actually stuns them until we gain control, " said Sheriff Kirk.
It's the responsibility of the jail to make sure inmates don't harbor weapons.
" We do searches both on a scheduled and on a random basis and those searches include the inmate and the cell areas to try and reduce the amount of contraband and prohibit weapons," said Wayne Dicky, Brazos County Jail Administrator.
Before you can even enter the courtroom, you must go through a metal detector and may be searched. Sheriff Kirk says he constantly assess security measures to make sure it's safe for everyone who enters the courthouse.
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