Published at PO Box 96 124 W. St. Clair Romeo, MI 48065. Phone: (586)752-3524 Fax: (586)752-0548
Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 02/27/13
BEEFED UP SAFETY. Above, a metal detector greets those entering the 42-1 District Court in Romeo. Regular use of the detector, along with extra personnel and the installation of surveillance cameras, are being enacted to increase security measures at the county building. Additionally, the substation housed in the building for the Macomb County Sheriff's Office has been closed due to the department opening a new substation in New Haven and wanting a central location.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
42-1 Court taking steps
to improve security
by CHRIS GRAYIn a response to rising stress levels of courtroom attendees, the 42-1 District Court of Romeo is seeking ways to step up its safety and security.
Observer Staff Writer
The county building, located on 33 Mile Road, has beefed up its security with a manned metal detector as well as investigating the installation of security cameras.
Judge Denis LeDuc said since the beginning of the year, the court has used its metal detector and an additional bailiff on a regular basis. He said the court already possessed a metal detector, but it was used on an as-needed basis for more high-profile cases.
"We're increasing our use of it, and we have requested<and my understanding is it's going to go through<we're going to be having that manned anytime we're open," he said.
The county is also looking to install surveillance cameras. Currently there are no cameras monitoring the parking lot, which LeDuc said causes safety issues for the public.
LeDuc couldn't provide cost estimates or a timeline for the installation of the cameras, but said county government has been in favor of the measures.
"They've been extremely cooperative with us, they've come out and have inventoried and surveyed the building security," he said.
He said the extra precautions weren't inspired by any one specific case or incident, but by the increasing attitude that more people are anxious about court proceedings.
"The atmosphere is such that the stress, tension and anxiety levels of people coming to court, for a number of reasons, are increased, and we're responding to that," LeDuc said.
In addition, he said all the operations that occur in the building such as probation offices, two courtrooms and prisoners being held in the back of the building call for additional precautions.
"It makes for a better atmosphere and it isn't just necessarily the safety of the court, the employees, but people between themselves," he said. "We have domestic violence, alleged assault, they're witnesses, they're alleged victims."
The building has signage up that asks all visitors to refrain from carrying cell phones inside. LeDuc said while it is a public building, the banning of phones and other electronics stems from respecting defendants.
A substation for the Macomb County Sheriff's Office that operated in a portion of the 42-1 District Court building was shut down as of January 2013.
The closure of the substation, however, did not result in the loss of a deputy for the townships of Armada, Bruce, Ray and Richmond.
Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said no deputy was assigned to the substation, saying it only served as a place for deputies to check in, change in and out of uniform and pick up a cruiser.
"Only one deputy patrols those four townships, and those deputies that patrol on all three shifts are K-9 officers that deploy from their houses," he said.
He said the decision was based on the fact that the department patrols New Haven as of Jan. 1, so a substation was created there to have a more centralized location for deputies to patrol the townships. He said no cost savings were realized by the closure.
"When it comes down to it, we took a computer out of there and a vehicle out of there," he said.