January 11, 2012 Edition

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Courthouse adds metal detector

Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson tests the new Garrett PD 6500i walk-through metal detector at the Lawrence County Courthouse, which was purchased to help increase security in the courtroom.
TD Photo ~ Shantelle Prater
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Courthouse recently installed a new walk-through metal detector, a Garrett PD 6500i, for added security in the courtroom.

Installed during the last week of December, it was first used on Jan. 5 during district court for Judge Larry Hayes.

The walk-through detector was purchased using the Court Room Security Grant, which was applied for by Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson. According to Dotson, who serves on the Supreme Court Committee on Security and Emergency Preparedness, the grant helps to fund court security improvements and new equipment for security personnel.

"The detector was completely purchased using the grant money," said Dotson. "This addition will help enhance our courtroom security and make it safer for all those in attendance."

Although no weapons have been used in the courtroom, Dotson reported fights have broke out during some sessions.

"The biggest issue we face is cell phone usage," Dotson said. "We have been very fortunate."

The Garrett PD 6500i precisely identifies multiple target locations from head to toe on the left, center and right sides of the body and provides advanced broadband detection technology.

In addition, all county police officials will participate in a certification class, which will be held at the end of the month.

"By participating in the class, officials can help man the security device during their court days," said Dotson.

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