Closer Look: Courtroom Security

June 26, 2007 - Posted at 6:22 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-"It could happen in any courtroom in Arkansas or across the United States and does," said Sheriff Jack McCann of Craighead County.

After a man brought a gun into a Craighead County courtroom Monday, security around the region is tightening up.

"We assigned a deputy and an officer to each of the courtroom doors. We have extra officers in the courtrooms. This was not at the request of the judge. We felt that under the circumstances there might be some fear factor," said Sheriff Dan Ellison.

On Tuesday the Lawrence County Courthouse was among those who stepped up security.

"We are constantly reminded by the judges and others that security is a major problem. You never know. You just never know when somebody is going to walk into a courtroom with a weapon," said Ellison.

One of the most common security features used in and out of courtrooms is metal detectors. They can easily detect pocket change, or anything from knives to guns on a perpetrator.

"We've had people that when they saw that detector, they just left right then. We recognize that probably confirms that they had something they didn't want to be caught with," said Mississippi County Judge, Steve McGuire.

That confirmation is reason enough for many county judges to come together collaboratively.

"The issues by which we are dealing with in court are issues that have a tendency to cause various people to act inappropriately. By virtue of that fact, we want to address that issue," said McGuire.

However, addressing the issue is a matter of personnel versus the number of courtrooms.

"Like everything, it comes down to manpower and money, and we don't have enough of either," said McCann.

So for now, law enforcement is left preparing, every way they can.

"In this day in time, you just don't know what circumstances are going to arise. You just don't know. We try to prepare for everything, knowing we can't. Just knowing we can't," said Ellison.

Brady had already served 17 stays behind bars as well as a sentence in the state prison.

He returned to court Tuesday on six new charges, including possession of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and first-degree terroristic threatening.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at