Comanche County Courthouse to overhaul security - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Comanche County Courthouse to overhaul security

Lawton_Threats to courthouse security, from bomb threats to deadly shootings aren't uncommon, and the Comanche County Courthouse isn't taking any chances - workers there are installing a $27,000 state-of-the-art security system.  For security reasons, not much information can be released to the public, but the system will be equipped with security cameras that will hold footage for 30 days.

Last year, a bomb threat forced and evacuation of the courthouse.  Had it been equipped with security cameras, any suspicious activity could have more easily been caught.  Luckily, it turned out to only be a threat, but it certainly inspired officials to beef up security for the courthouse. 

A courthouse can be an easy target.  "I think it's just general knowledge given the circumstances today that disturbances can occur at any place," says Comanche County Commissioner Ron Kirby.  Since a courthouse has such a wide variety of people coming and going, it's necessary for officials to be prepared.  "This brings lots of different types of folks in here, and nothing negative about that, it's just that with that brings emotions," says Comanche County Court Clerk Robert Morales.  "We started looking at various security systems, sent out for bids and proposals, and we have narrowed it down," he says.

The new system will not only have cameras, but will allow courthouse employees to have access to a "panic button" that will alert a patrolling deputy in the event of suspicious activity.  It's intended to keep those who use courthouse services safe.  "No matter which office they're going to, that they can come conduct their business safely without any harm to them," says Morales. 

In addition to the cameras and silent alarms, the sheriff's department will be hiring a deputy to work security.  "Anything can happen here at this courthouse," says Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley.  "People lose their children, people don't get ‘the right sentencing' they think people should have - it's a place where all kinds of things can happen."  Stradley says that they have responded to potentially dangerous situations from bomb threats to threats on those involved in high profile court cases.  Whatever the threat, Stradley says that having a deputy patrolling the hallways will make court-goers a lot safer. 

The commissioners' office and the court clerk's office allocated part of their budget to increased security at the courthouse.  They expect it to be up and running soon, and hope it will make everyone who comes to the courthouse feel safer.  Comanche County Courthouse employees say that added security is something they have needed for a while.

Count on 7News to keep you updated on their progress.

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