Court Security Bench Card Available

By T.J. BeMent, 10th District Court Administrator

 Court Security Bench CardWhile the tragic shooting in the Fulton County courthouse is now more than a decade behind us in 2005, court security still remains a topic of concern.  The Council of Superior Court Judges and its Court Security Committee, led by Judge Samuel Ozburn, Superior Court, Alcovy Judicial Circuit, has published a “Basics of Courtroom Security” bench card. The bench card focuses on courtroom security goals, the responsibilities of court deputies and bailiffs, the preferences of presiding judges, and cites important legal authority. 

Additionally, in partnership with the Georgia Association of Sheriffs (GSA) and Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), the Council of Superior Court Judges (CSCJ) worked to update the 2012 “Georgia Standards for the Security of Courthouses and Other Court Facilities.”  This guide notes best practices for the design, renovation and maintenance of Georgia’s court facilities from a security perspective.  Chaired by Judge Joseph Booth of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, the updates take into consideration changes in facility design based on input from national and local leaders including architects, engineers and security personnel. 

 According to Judge Ozburn, “our goal has been to raise the level of court security statewide and the latest edition of the Court Security Standards and benchcard are major steps toward achieving that goal. We know that court security is not just for the benefit of court personnel; it is also for the protection of courthouse employees and the citizens of Georgia who turn to the courts for resolution of disputes in a safe environment.”

Through the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education (ICJE), trainings for judges and clerks around the state have been conducted using both documents as background materials.  ICJE is developing an online course on security preparedness for judges.  Both documents are available on the AOC website.



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