Supervisors mull cameras for courthouse

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 5, 2007

After reviewing bids for the project received Thursday, LincolnCounty supervisors should decide today whether to install securitycameras in the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex.

Lincoln County Homeland Security Director Clifford Galey saidthe county received four bids to install the cameras ranging from$24,700 to $39,200. The project would be funded entirely by afederal Department of Homeland Security grant.

“It’s going to provide cameras and monitors and some interiormagnetic door locks to limit public access to the judge’s innerchambers,” he said. “This will not prevent anyone from entering thecourthouse.”

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Twenty-one cameras are planned for placement both inside andoutside the government complex, said Sheriff Steve Rushing.

“Some will be obvious, others will not,” he said. “They’llmonitor the open areas, hallways, outside doors and other generaluse areas.”

No cameras will be placed in private offices or rooms, Rushingsaid.

County dispatchers will be tasked with monitoring the camerasand screens will be placed in the secure dispatch center, thesheriff said.

“It gives law enforcement and response personnel access towhatever is happening in the courthouse without entering thebuilding,” Rushing said.

In the event of an incident, tactical knowledge like thelocation of citizens and the aggressors and their armament couldprovide responders with a valuable advantage in defusing asituation with the least amount of danger to both the innocentsinside and the responders, he said.

Judges, especially, had requested more security at thecourthouse following an incident last year in Atlanta, Galeysaid.

In that case, a man on trial broke loose from his escort, stolehis weapon and killed several people, including a judge, whilefleeing the building. He was later apprehended and is presently ontrial.

The magnetic door locks would use state-of-the-art technology tolimit access to the judge’s chambers, Galey said. Only the judge,some court personnel and key officials would have magnetic keys toget entry.