Weapons screening is a standard practice in nearly all large urban courthouses as well as an increasing number of smaller rural courthouses. All courthouses should have a single public entrance through which all persons, including attorneys, employees, couriers and delivery persons should pass. All deliveries, packages, and mail should be screened or visually inspected for weapons, explosive devices, or hazardous materials.
Entrance Screening Station
The weapons screening station requires electrical power for metal detectors and x-ray machines. Depending upon the number of persons entering the building on a daily basis, more than one screening station may be required to cover peak hours of activity. People should not have to wait outside in hot, cold or inclement weather.
- In smaller courthouse, allow sufficient space for at least 20 people to line up within the building prior to walking through the screening stations.
- In large urban courthouses, allow sufficient space for up to 100 people.
- Provide space for at least two security officers per screening station (one to operate the x-ray machine and another to hand check persons who set off the metal detector).
Best practices recommend that the screening area should be located outside the main mass of the building structure to lessen potential blast effects on the main structure in case of an IED discovery at the entrance. There should be no places outside the screening area where persons can store or hide anything prior to being screened.
It is a best practice to have all employees entering the building screened like everyone else, including the use of a metal detector and x-ray machine.
The building may be designed with a separate employee entrance to avoid having employees wait in line with visitors entering the building. The employee entrance should be located near the main area where employees park. The entrance should be staffed by security staff and requires a single metal detector and x-ray machine.
It is a common practice in many jurisdictions to have a separate employee entrance where staff may enter by displaying a court issued ID.
Service Entrances / Receiving Docks
Courthouses with receiving docks should have personnel and equipment available to screen all incoming materials.
Larger courthouses should have a service entrance for the delivery of supplies, equipment, and other large items, and the collection of trash and recycling. Everyone entering the building through this location should be screened.
The receiving dock security screening area should be located immediately adjacent to the receiving dock bay(s) where all packages and deliveries to the building can be screened or x-rayed. It must be wired for a large x-ray machine and metal detector.
The receiving dock requires CCTV cameras inside and outside the receiving dock. The command and control center should have local and remote control of overhead and access doors. A duress alarm is required in the general receiving area and there should be an intercom between the receiving dock security station and the outside receiving area.
Consideration should be given to creating a mail receiving room adjacent to the receiving dock where all mail deliveries can be received and the mail x-rayed as needed.
Juab County, Utah Courthouse Entrance Security Screening Station