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NCSC publishes Best Practices for Court Building Security 2022 edition

NCSC publishes Best Practices for Court Building Security 2022 edition

Now in its fourth edition, Steps to Best Practices for Court Building Security delivers updated guidance on a diverse array of court security topics. Examples include recommendations for implementing remote hearings for in-custody defendants and recommendations for security technology. The 2022 update also reinforces fundamental security concepts for courts of all shapes and sizes.

“Court security burst onto the scene as a huge issue in the mid-2000s following a tragic shooting in Fulton County, Georgia,” said NCSC Principal Consultant Nathan Hall. “NCSC made it a priority to develop resources for courts by conducting assessments and research while recognizing diversity among courthouse facilities. This document is designed to help courts make improvements in steps and phases as resources become available.”

The new release highlights how courts can integrate technology into building infrastructure—including security control centers, alarms, access control technology, and cameras. The updated guidance also incorporates greater attention to how architectural design can create safe separation and circulation for all court participants.

Regardless of size, geography, or level of resources available, Hall said courts should ensure four fundamental security practices are in place: a fully functioning security committee, comprehensive court building security policies and procedures, a threat and incident reporting system, and an effective training and exercise program.

To help courts achieve these fundamental practices, NCSC evaluates the effectiveness of court building security programs through responses to questions, such as:

  • Is there a Court Security Committee in place? How does it function?
  • Who is “in charge” of security in the courthouse? How do you know who’s in charge?
  • What policies and procedures are in place? How are they developed?
  • What training and exercise programs are in place? Who participates and how often are they conducted?
  • Who gets screened for weapons?
  • Who has access after hours?
  • What is your role and responsibilities with respect to security?

To learn more about NCSC’s court security services and consulting, contact Hall or visit the Court Security and Emergency Preparedness web page.