Volume 7, Number 40 - December 27, 2007
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Sublette courtrooms tighten security
ML Baxley from the Sublette County Sheriff ’s Office (SCSO) applied for a Federal Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in July to fund the increase of security and means to make the courtroom security run more smoothly. The $11,024 grant was awarded to the SCSO, but up until this past week she had one final requirement to meet: a hearing with the governing body (county commissioners) and a public hearing to determine whether or not there was a better use for the funds. “We’re getting enough for both courtrooms,” Baxley said.
The county commissioners voted unanimously to allow the funds to be used for the courtroom security and, according to Baxley, there was no one in attendance at the public hearing. These two meetings finalized the grant process and, once Baxley is done with the final paperwork, the funds will be available for SCSO use.
“I do these grant things all the time,” Baxely said. “This one just required a public hearing.” With the advisement of bailiff Mike Peterson, Baxley determined there were several needs for courtroom security (the grant was requested in the amount of these items, plus shipping).
The first new figure to enter the courtroom security process will be a walk-through metal detector, which will be followed by a hand-held wand should the walk-through model alert the SCSO to any possible problems.
“Everyone entering will be scanned,” Baxley said. “It will be similar to airport security.”
The SCSO will also be investing in an undercarriage inspection unit to look around corners and under benches in the courtrooms.
“It’s basically just a mirror on a long stick ... so you don’t have to crawl around on your hands and knees,” Baxley said.
The grant will also afford the SCSO the chance to purchase lockers for the outside of the courtrooms. “This is so if there is someone who has a briefcase or a purse and they don’t want it searched ... they can be directed to the lockers ... and lock their belongings and take the key to the courtroom with them,” Baxley said.
The grant money will be available to SCSO once final paperwork is received and Baxley will work to get the new items operational soon.
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