Metal detectors


Courthouse security Sgt. Joe Franklin, left, and Blount County Coroner Lynn Sweatman check signals as Sweatman empties his pockets, preparing to step through the recentlyinstalled metal detector at the public entrance to the Blount County Courthouse.

Courthouse security Sgt. Joe Franklin, left, and Blount County Coroner Lynn Sweatman check signals as Sweatman empties his pockets, preparing to step through the recentlyinstalled metal detector at the public entrance to the Blount County Courthouse.

Metal detectors were installed at the public entrances to the courthouse and Family Services Center last week and will be in use full time on an on-going basis. The units were installed as part of the long-range security plan for the two county buildings and were paid for by the state Administrative Office of Courts. They reflect the increasing incidences of violent or terrorist-related attacks in courtrooms and other government buildings, as well as in businesses generally, across the country in recent years.

A warning signal sounds when the unit detects metal objects inside or underneath the clothing of those passing through the portal. Those entering are asked to empty their pockets of and remove other metal-bearing objects and place them in a plastic dish before passing through.

Removed items, other than knives or weapons, are reclaimed after a person passes through the portal without setting off the alarm. Visitors who carry pocket knives or other weapons are asked to leave them in their vehicle before entering the building.

If detected during entry, visitors will be required by security personnel to return them to their vehicle or otherwise dispose of them before entering the building.

“The county commission has been working a long time to provide the best possible accessibility and security to the county courthouse and Family Services Center,” said Probate Judge and commission chairman Chris Green. “The addition of metal detectors at both locations has been deemed necessary by the commission, state court system, and sheriff’s department to provide the highest level of security possible for county and state employees as well as the general public. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate everyone’s understanding that it is a necessary decision at this time.”