01/10/06 — Courthouse security firm goes down over weekend

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Courthouse security firm goes down over weekend

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 10, 2006 1:57 PM

A lapse in certification by the security firm providing security at the Wayne County Courthouse did not mean a lapse in security for people working there.

County officials learned Monday that Pro-Tek of Greenville, the company that had been hired in August to man the entrances to the courthouse and check visitors for weapons, had had its license pulled by the state for failing to have some of its employees properly trained.

Deputies with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office immediately stepped into the breach, County Manager Lee Smith said today, maintaining security for the remainder of the day.

By today, the county had hired another firm, Sentry Security Services of Goldsboro, to take over the security duties, Smith said. Sentry hired the former guards employed by Pro-Tek, and they were back on the job this morning, albeit in new uniforms.

County officials determined last year that stiffer security measures were needed at the courthouse. Federal courthouses have had such security measures in place for years, but many counties have only recently begun to consider them a necessary addition at their courthouses.

Since beginning the security checks that include metal detectors at the main doors to the courthouse atrium, guards have collected hundreds of knives and other weapons, even handguns, from visitors entering the building.

Courthouse employees and others who do business at the courthouse offices on a regular basis can obtain an identity card that permits them to enter without being checked.