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Southeast Idaho courthouse metal detector deemed illegal
Pocatello, Idaho • The Bannock County Courthouse's security system that includes a metal detector to screen for guns and other weapons is illegal, a southeast Idaho district court judge says.
Sixth District Judge Stephen Dunn told Bannock County commissioners Wednesday that only the Administrative Judge for that district has the authority to make such a rule involving courthouse security.
"Our security system is illegal," he said.
The Idaho State Journal reports that commissioners in 1997 approved the metal detector following shootings in courthouses around the nation. Dunn said that he's completing an administrative order outlining the policy in Bannock County to make a "weapons-free" courthouse legal.
Under his administrative order, "all persons entering any court facility are hereby prohibited from carrying, having on their person or having readily accessible to them at any place inside a court facility, any firearm, pistol or revolver of any kind, any knife exceeding two and a half inches in length, any explosives or explosive device, incendiary device, ammunition, Taser or related device, pepper spray or any related substance, without prior written approval."
On-duty police officers and court marshals would be excluded.
"We don't have screening devices in every courthouse, but we should," Dunn said.
Under current policy, county employees with ID badges can bypass the metal detector. Dunn said that could change under new rules.
"All persons entering any court facility, including but not limited to court, county or state employees, are subject to screening and/or search of their persons, clothing and bags or carrying cases of any kind to insure compliance with this order," Dunn wrote.
Officials said security concerns at the courthouse had been eyed before the shooting on Monday at the Washington Navy Yard where a 34-year-old contract employee used an ID badge to get inside and kill 12 workers and wound three others.
Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com