New security measures that went into effect at the Bradley County Courthouse last week have already had a positive impact on building security, according to Capt. Eric Watson of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Judicial Services Division.
Watson said a small bag of marijuana and a razor blade, both hastily disposed of before reaching the security checkpoint, were found on the courthouse grounds and in a restroom.
Visitors attending courts or having business to conduct with clerks of the courts on the second floor are required to complete a security check.
This involves the individual and their belongings passing through the magnetometer, which uses the same principle as metal detectors in major airports. Watson said the marijuana was outside, in front of the building and the razor blade was wrapped in toilet paper and discarded in the women’s restroom.
“Another woman got to the magnetometer and realized she was carrying a handgun in her purse,” Watson said.
“She had a valid handgun carry permit which made it legal for her to have the weapon.”
Watson said this shows that people have been bringing guns, knives, and all sorts of objects into courtrooms that can be used as weapons against court officers, judges, or anyone there as a litigant or witness.
As part of heightened security measures implemented by Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth, doors to the second floor from the Ocoee Street ramp have been changed to exit only. To access the second floor, visitors must enter on the first level and use the stairs or elevator.
People conducting business with offices on the first floor, including the County Trustee, County Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, and Veterans Affairs, will not be required to pass through the magnetometer.
Visitors should keep in mind to arrive early at the courthouse and the Bradley County Judicial Center so they can be cleared through security and reach the courtroom at the designated time.