Franklin County Begins Arming Guards At Government Buildings

By
UPDATED: Monday March 10, 2014 6:25 PM

On a single day, an estimated 4,000 people enter the Franklin County Courthouse.

One might assume the people at the security check-point are armed.

“You mean they didn't have guns before?” said Barbara Herr, a paralegal.

The answer was no, until today.

“Beforehand, if there was a threat coming through the door, our security guards would have to run just like everybody else because they had no way of defending themselves, says Sheriff Zach Scott.

The Sheriff believes the courthouse is safer place now.  “I tell these guys you need to work every day like this is the day we have a shooting,” he says.

But not everyone agrees with the move.

“I think they were doing an effective job with the security system as it is”, said a man leaving the Courthouse.

Others who work in the Courthouse see it as a benefit.

“I think there would be probably a deterrent.  There's probably no place in the city that's more emotionally charged than a courthouse on a day-to-day basis,” says defense attorney Jim Gilbert. 

“I think it's a good idea.  I think there are a lot of crazy, angry people that come down here periodically, so I don't know that's such a bad idea,” says Herr.

But it's a much different situation in the city-controlled Municipal Court just a few feet away.

There, armed security guards aren't stationed at the entrance.

“We have Columbus Police assigned to our building.  They augment our security program, so we're okay with that right now,” says Dan Whittier, Director of Security of the Franklin County Municipal Court.

But that may change, as people who work in the Municipal Courthouse begin to request the same level of security protection as the people

who work just a few feet away.

The head of security for the Municipal Court says he plans to talk with the judges and meet with the sheriff to discuss the differences in security.

The sheriff says it cost the county nearly $2 million to hire and train his deputies. 

 

WEB EXTRA:

Franklin County Courthouse Security Information

Courthouse Security Press Release