St. Charles Herald-Guide

Courthouse entrance closes to add X-ray machine, metal detector

By Jonathan Menard - January 17, 2014

The St. Charles Parish Courthouse entrance near the Tax Collector’s Office will close from Jan. 27 until May 27 for the creation of a security checkpoint.

Until May, members of the public will have to use adjacent entrances, including a front entrance on the other side of the building.

Once the renovations to the easternmost front entrance are complete, it will be the only one open for use by the public at large. All bags carried by residents entering that door will 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 project is being funded through a state grant.

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.