Courthouse security on minds of county commission

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2002

News Editor

Security is on the minds of the Pike County Commission, even more so after the events on the morning of Jan. 14, when an armed man took a security hostage at the Pike County Courthouse.

Though that incident ended peacefully, ways to improve security at the courthouse has been a huge concern of the county’s leaders. On Monday, the commission’s security committee met with Deputy Marshal, Arthur D. Baylor, who handles judicial security for the State of Alabama.

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Baylor did what he calls a "quick walk-through" of the courthouse and pointed out several items which he felt needed to be addressed by the county. "It would take me at least two days to do a complete survey of the courthouse and about a month to prepare a complete report," he said.

Several things he suggested to the committee included increasing the number of security guards in the building, adding an x-ray machine for purses and briefcases, and adding survelence equipment to be monitored by security personnel.

Baylor also told the committee that he noticed there were two chairs beside the table where the security guard is stationed beside the metal detector at the front entrance. "Guards need to be prepared when people come toward the door," he said. "They need to be up on their feet at their post."

Baylor said a key ingredient to good security is the education of employees. He said all employees should have proper identification and be required to go through the metal detector. He added that many times problems can come from within.

"The more people you let in without being screened properly, the greater your chances of letting something happen," said Baylor.