Tougher security at 3 suburban courthousesby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS — People entering the three suburban courthouses in Hennepin County will have to pass through new security checkpoints Monday.
Courthouses at Brookdale, Ridgedale and Southdale are being equipped with X-ray machines and walk-through metal detectors.
The measures were approved after a Hennepin County judge voiced concern over the lack of metal detectors at the suburban courthouses.
County security manager Kirk Simmons says the equipment won't fit in the space available at the Southdale courthouse in Edina. Screeners will use hand-held metal detectors, and search bags and belongings by hand.
"We're going to give it our best effort, but without the screening equipment it just takes a lot longer getting people through that process," he says. "So we're really asking folks that if they have any business to do at Southdale that they allow for some extra time."
Security personnel seize between 100 and 200 lbs of prohibited items a week at the checkpoints in downtown courthouses, Simmons says.
"We end up picking up a lot of bizarre things off of people when they show up downtown for court. Anything from sets of steak knives, nunchucks, brass knuckles, just knives in general, box cutters, those sorts of things," he says.
Courthouse visitors are being urged to allow extra time if they are going to visit any of the facilities.