New Equipment Would Increase Security at Detroit-Area Courthouse

SHELBY TOWNSHIP -- Security may soon get upgraded at 41-A District Court, if officials approve a request for more equipment.

Township Supervisor Ralph Maccarone wants to spend $18,745 for enhanced security equipment for the court, including a metal detector, two hand wands, and a security card door lock system that tracks and logs each entry and exit using a computer chip imbedded in a card. Equipment being requested also includes new security cameras.

"There are cameras there already, but we'd like to put a few more in," Maccarone said.

The township Board of Trustees will vote whether to approve the expenditure at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the township offices at 52700 Van Dyke.

"If this request is approved, there will be a supplemental request for changes in the entranceway, to avoid people having to wait outside in the elements while people are being screened (with the new security equipment)," Maccarone said. "In addition, we'll request hiring two additional security personnel."

Similar security features were installed last year in Sterling Heights District Court. "The judges asked that we consider similar measures in Shelby Township, as well," Maccarone said.

The upgrades are needed, Maccarone said, because, "changing times require we provide secure courtrooms for both court personnel and the public. We need to have secure doorways and be able to monitor potential conflicts before they break out. We also want to make sure nobody is carrying a weapon into the courtroom. We're obligated to do that."

Maccarone, a former Detroit police officer, said security in courts wasn't always so tight.

"I can remember a time when you could just walk right into U.S. District Court (in Detroit) and there would be just one guard sitting there, and no metal detectors or anything. You could walk right into the court unimpeded. Needless to say, times have changed."

In Sterling Heights last year, the court added a metal detector and hired a security guard to monitor the court's main entrance.

(The Detroit News -- 12/20/05)