Judging Security

Courthouse security has been an important topic for years, but now local judges and law enforcement leaders say it's too easy for someone to walk unchecked into a south Georgia courthouse with a weapon and cause trouble.

Judge Arthur McLane of the Southern Judicial Circuit says, "As a circuit, we're in very poor shape. We basically do not have any meaningful security in most of the courthouses in the circuit."

To demonstrate, Judge McLane had an assistant show how easily potentially dangerous items could have been hidden at the Brooks County Courthouse, including the gun which was stashed in a prisoner holding cell.

J.D. Yeager of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office says, "Judge McLane used Lowndes County to demonstrate how to do things, but we are behind in some areas and we've got some equipment we need to update, but we feel like we're in pretty good shape."

Carlton Powell, Thomas County Sheriff, says, "The judges put the ball in our court and it's going to be up to the people of Thomas County, and I'm one of them, to do the best we can with the security."

Judge McLane says he's glad to see leaders from across the southern judicial circuit working together.

McLane says, "It's necessary for us to do something to meet the threat and to combat that danger for all of our citizens."

The judge hopes to get new procedures and security equipment in place over the next few months.

Local leaders say county commissioners across south Georgia will have to find extra money to pay for the needed security improvements.