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Sheriff's office tackles courthouse security plan

In the wake of the March 2005 courthouse shootings in Atlanta, the state legislature passed a law requiring local sheriff's departments to implement a courthouse security plan by July 1.

The McDuffie County Sheriff's Department already has an interim plan in place and is consulting with the Superior Court judges on beefing up the plan.

Under Senate Bill 462, McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall will be responsible for having the pieces in place to prevent incidents such as the one in Atlanta. He told members of the county's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday evening that it could be a difficult, costly process.

"It's going to be as hard as the devil to do this like it's supposed to be done," he said.

The Sheriff's Association is currently exploring grant funding that could offset the cost of hiring additional deputies to patrol courthouses statewide. Local officials agreed, though, that more personnel will be needed.

Also, Sheriff Marshall has contacted the Marshal's office to have a study done on the courthouse to see what additional steps are needed. He said the layout of the courthouse could present problems.

Officials are happy with the steps the Sheriff has already taken since the incident. They said he is headed in the right direction.

"Really, we've already got a plan that can meet this date," said McDuffie County Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Sewell. "Then we can go back as studies get done and adjust."

Web posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006

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