Security will increase at courthouse entrance, cell phones banned in court
The current plan calls for renovations on the northeast corner of the courthouse building. That entrance would be the only one open for use by the public at large. All bags carried by residents entering that door would go through an X-ray machine and all visitors will walk through a metal detector.
No one will be allowed through the other secured courthouse entrances unless in possession of a properly functioning ID badge. Those ID badges will be used by essential personnel and courthouse employees.
The contract to secure the courthouse entrance was awarded to Thomassie Construction, Inc. of Thibodaux. The project is being funded through a state grant.
Currently, anyone can enter through any one of the entrances in place now and visitors are only required to pass through a security checkpoint when going into the second floor area containing the Parish Council chambers, courtrooms, judge’s chambers and the District Attorney’s Office.
In addition to increased security at the courthouse entrance, cameras will monitor all public lobbies and exit doors.
The general public will not be allowed to bring cell phones into any courtroom. Only court personnel and attorneys appearing before the court will be able to do so.
St. Charles Parish District Judge Emile St. Pierre said that a sign will be posted outside of the courthouse reminding the public about the courtroom cell phone ban so that they can leave the phones inside their vehicles.
Other items carried by members of the general public, such as small pocket knives or pepper spray, are also banned from the courthouse.
The security changes are the result of a mandate by the Louisiana Supreme Court requiring each judicial district throughout the state to investigate and provide a plan for improved security for courthouses.
The improved security will get the courthouse up to speed with the rest of the country, St. Pierre said.
Parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson said the new standards should be implemented during the first quarter of 2014.
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