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Prepare for changes at Goodhue County Justice Center

Goodhue County Justice Center is implementing new measures to keep staff and citizens safer.

These steps include new equipment and full-time staffing of the screening devices at the public entrance.

"Every day, Goodhue County residents enter our local Justice Center to access their legal system, protect their rights and utilize legal resources," said Goodhue County Court Administrator Chris Channing. "It is so important that the citizens of Goodhue County know that they can access their court system safely and securely."

These steps are being taken to better protect citizens who attend court proceedings, meet with county attorney or guardian ad litem staff, or visit the Goodhue County Law Library.

Screening of all those entering the building will begin Monday, May 8. With the addition of enhanced security, Goodhue County District Court officials urge attorneys, case participants and visitors alike to plan additional time to go through screening when arriving for court hearings. Previously, point-of-entry screening was only conducted during high-traffic times during the day.

"As we begin this new endeavor, residents or anyone having a need to visit the Justice Center should arrive at least 15 minutes earlier," said Goodhue County Sheriff Scott McNurlin. "On heavy court calendar days such as traffic court Thursdays, those in need of access to the Justice Center could encounter a longer than normal line of people going through the screening checkpoint, particularly as court opens at 8 a.m, so plan accordingly."

Funding for two full-time Goodhue County Sheriff deputy positions will allow for security screening to occur any time the building is open. Deputies will usher all visitors entering the Justice Center through metal detector screening and will screen packages and bags through an X-ray machine.

Nationally, security experts have noted a significant increase in courthouse violence in recent years. In 2005, the Center for Justice and Executive Security counted 19 incidents of violent acts in courthouses across the country. In 2011, that same organization counted more than 90 such incidents.

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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