How Safe Are You in a Municipal Building?

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  • April 2003, Jacksonville, Fl.
    Incident: A disgruntled former city employee enters City Hall Annex with a 12-gauge shotgun and extra ammunition, police say, and pulls the weapon on his former supervisor. Other workers were able to get the weapon out of the man's hands, and no one was injured.
    Security: No metal detecting devices were available. Security was beefed up after the incident

  • February 2003, Palo Alto, Ca.
    Incident: A reportedly HIV- and hepatitis- infected man brought a knife into a courtroom and slashed his own throat, splashing blood on security officers
    Security: Metal detectors were in place; following the incident they were recalibrated and retested

  • August 2002, Milwaukee Wis.
    Incident: After a string of security breaches at county facilities, one woman used a knife to slash another person inside Milwaukee County's Criminal Justice Facility
    Security: Metal detectors were in place at the courthouse, and security had recently been beefed up

  • May 2002, Mandan, North Dakota
    Incident: A man was arrested after threatening a judge and attorney with a knife inside Mandan City Hall
    Security: There was no security at the building's two entrances, although police officers were present in municipal courtrooms

  • May 2002, Lehigh County, Pa.
    Incident: A silver dagger with a four-inch blade was brought into the Old Lehigh County Courthouse by the siblings of a convicted murderer
    Security: A metal detector was present, but only outside the courtroom, not in the building lobby.

  • April 2002, Norristown, Pa.
    Incident: A lawyer forgot his licensed weapon was in his briefcase and put it through the x-ray machine; the security officer was distracted and didn't see it until later, when the alarm was raised and the weapon tracked down
    Security: The security officer was subsequently reassigned

  • February 2002, Milwaukee, Wis.
    Incident: A local television reporter passed a briefcase containing 10 banned items through the Milwaukee County Courthouse x-ray security checkpoint a total of 12 times in two days. A videotape showed a security officers looking away from the monitor as some items went through
    Security: Authorities said they were shocked by the "gaping" holes in their security system

  • January 2002, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Incident: Police arrested a man who they say stabbed an assistant Linn County attorney in the back
    Security: Stricter security measures were put in place to screen visitors and instal metal detectors

  • January 2002, Richmond, Tex.
    Incident: A woman with a scarf over her face walked into the Fort Bend County Courthouse with a pellet rifle and threatened a justice of the peace. She was subdued, and deputies found the gun was not loaded
    Security: The county adopted an earlier plan to instal metal detectors and x-ray machines

  • January 2002, Mineapolis, Minn.
    Incident: A woman had a loaded gun inside her briefcase when she entered the Ramsey County Courthouse
    Security: Deputies working security missed the gun when they opened her briefcase and searched it by hand; it was picked up on an x-ray scanner outside a courtroom