Scott Co. officials implement security updates to courthouse - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Scott Co. officials implement security updates to courthouse

Scott County courthouse officials have implemented new security updates within the last month. Scott County courthouse officials have implemented new security updates within the last month.
SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Courthouse violence is on the rise across the country.

According to studies by the Center for Judicial and Executive Security, the numbers of violent incidents in state courthouses has gone up every decade since 1970.

Residents have been coming through the doors of the Scott County Courthouse for the last 100 years.

Officials in Scott County say an incident could easily happen there.

"Most of our clientele are coming in on a bad day," Circuit Court Clerk Christ Hency said. "They're not here because they want to be and it's not a good point in their life. so it's very common for us to have hostile people."

In the past, there was nothing keeping people out of their personal space.

"We always had an open office and anyone could come in and truly approach the desk," Hency said.

Money, though, plays a big role in what can be changed.

"To build a new building and to make it that way would be virtually impossible for dollars," Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger said.

Furthermore, the Scott County courthouse is a historic building in the area.

"We don't want to damage the integrity of this beautiful old courthouse building," Hency said.

Burger said that's why the goal was to make security updates that not only preserved the buildings history, but were significant to remove the stress of wondering what if.

Updates to locks, adding more doors, even adding barriers with shatterproof inserts were all a part of a project completed within the last month.

Burger said it was something couldn't hold off doing any longer.

"If one person got hurt we would regret it forever," Burger said. "The things that happen elsewhere can happen here, I don't think we can just put our head in the sand and not think it is going to happen. I think we have to prepare."

Hency said the courthouse has become a model for others.

She's been contacted twice about how to implement similar changes elsewhere.

Click here for more on courthouse violence.

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