Lyndhurst, Ohio, OKs $38K to Improve Court Safety

Lyndhurst - Municipal Court Judge Mary Kaye Bozza fears for the her safety and that of her staff.

Bozza has complained to City Council that the court has no metal detectors and not enough people to properly search visitors. She said holding cells near her chambers force her to listen to profanity from prisoners.

While declining to discuss court security this week, she presented council last week with a request for 13 improvements, including metal detectors.

She noted that even Brush High School library has metal detectors.

On Monday, council approved more than $38,000 in improvements, including a one-way glass door in the probation office, improved locks for the prosecutor's office and a new safe for next year.

But council referred other improvements, including metal detectors, to committee.

The Ohio Supreme Court, which sets guidelines for court security, recommends metal detectors and reports that fewer than 30 of 400 municipal courts in the state don't have them.

The Lyndhurst court handles traffic and misdemeanor criminal cases for Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield and Richmond Heights.

During her council appearance, Bozza directed her questions about metal detectors at Councilman Marty Puin, who chairs the safety committee, and Councilman Scott Picker. Both council members said they have supported court improvements, but didn't receive any formal requests for money until last week.

"Why these improvements have not been done is a question the judge needs to ask the mayor and finance director," said Puin.

On Tuesday, Finance Director Mary Kovalchik said metal detectors and video equipment are among improvements the city will consider next year.

In April, the Ohio Supreme Court's office of court security checked the Lyndhurst court. Sam Cicchino, who manages the office, said he could not share the results of the visit because it would compromise court security.

Cicchino said the state doesn't mandate metal detectors or other security measures.

"Ours are strictly guidelines," he said. "If we made that requirement we'd have to fund it. That wouldn't be fair because some counties can't afford it."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4961

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