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Security upgrades at Comanche County Courthouse

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Big security changes are coming to the Comanche County Courthouse that will impact employees and visitors.

Starting sometime before the end of March, everyone entering the Comanche County Courthouse will have to send their bags through an x-ray machine and walk through a metal detector. There will also be new cameras, a security system, and fire alarms. Getting the upgrade took more than two years.

To ensure that everyone passes through that new metal detector, three of the four doors will be locked. The only door you can now go in or out of is the west entrance.

“Right now, it's not a safe place to be," said Comanche County Commissioner Johnny Owens.

Safety is what Owens said the entire security overhaul is all about.

"You have murder trials, child custody cases, it all happens up here and thank the good Lord nothing has happened,” Owens said.

With the added security protocols, comes a list of items not allowed in the courthouse.

"I really want people to understand they cannot bring any form of weapon in this courthouse,” Owens said. “That means if you have any small pocket knife leave it in your car."

That also includes guns, Tasers, pepper spray and anything that could be considered a weapon. Owens said the changes at the door are not the only security changes you'll see in the building.

"We've implemented a new camera system and we've got a new fire alarm system,” Owens said. “Everything has been updated to the best that you can buy. It makes a big difference."

The courthouse already owned the metal detector and the x-ray machine was donated by the U-S Marshals. But the new cameras, security alarms and fire alarms cost about $250 thousand.

"You can't put a price on somebody's life,” Owens said. “Like I've said before, it's not if, it's when something is going to happen. That’s what we trying to do is keep that from happening."

Owens said he knows the new security is a small inconvenience but said it is all worth it to ensure the safety of everyone working or visiting the building.

Owens said he used the security systems already in place in Stephens, Cleveland, and Oklahoma County Courthouses as a reference before implementing the changes here.

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