Ensuring Georgia’s Courthouses are Safe and Secure
In 2005, tragic events at the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta triggered a thorough review of courthouse security across the state. Georgia has taken steps to improve the safety and security of individuals working and visiting inside of Georgia’s courthouses and courthouse annexes. Georgia law enacted in 2006, O.C.G.A §15 – 16 – 10, requires Georgia sheriffs to create written security plans for county courthouses. Accessibility to its government is the cornerstone of a free society, and reducing the possibility of actions and conditions that might otherwise discourage that accessibility is paramount.
Basic measures ensure that the goal of raising the level of security of Georgia’s courthouses and courthouse annexes is attained. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Training Division staff may conduct on-site security surveys of courthouses and courthouse annexes when manpower is available, providing sheriffs with a thorough report on measures to improve security of judicial buildings and safety of individuals within. The assessment instrument, developed by the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, after referencing the U.S. Marshal Service protocol, provides a comprehensive picture of the degree of vulnerability of a courthouse or courthouse annex. By applying some or all of these measures, our sheriffs are taking steps to raise awareness of security concerns and in doing so, protecting the lives and well-being of all individuals within the confines of the courthouse, while maintaining the integrity of the critical business that must be conducted within these structures.
You can help the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association provide Court Security Services to more sheriffs across the state by making a donation.