Planning Is your Courthouse or Courtroom posted with a Weapons Prohibition Notice? Is there a written risk assessment available for your office and courtroom? For your home? Has it been updated recently? Risk Assessments should be completely semi- annually. Develop an emergency plan and commit key components to memory. Carry a cellular telephone and have panic alarm devices to alert emergency services if the need arises.
Court Room Security Clerks Area What security measures do the clerks have? Is the work area video monitored and who is monitoring the area. Method of contacting law enforcement. Panic alarm-telephone. When was the last time the emergency plan was tested and what is the response time for help?
Who has access to judges chambers? Are the chamber’s secure? Do the clerks have a method of alerting the judge when there is an emergency or a disturbance? Are there windows in the chambers? (size of window, locking devices) Do visitors have to provide identification and sign in?
Is local law enforcement familiar with the floor plans of the courthouse and evacuation plan? Is there a designated safe area for staff to retreat to during an emergency? Discuss different scenarios with staff. (Active shooter, an angered litigant)
Security in the courtroom? Officer? Bench area? Is the courtroom monitored by law enforcement? Is there communication between the courtroom staff and the clerks office in case of an emergency? Windows in the courtroom? (blinds, glare from the sun)
Lighting; can the judge and staff see the audience? Indicators leading to a possible incident. (body language, tone of voice, etc.) Groups of people can lead to problems. (Strength in numbers) If you are uncomfortable when someone enters your office or courtroom, listen to your instincts. Code words or gestures used by staff.
Court Security Committee Determine if there is a need for a local Court Security Committee. Members should be comprised of the judiciary, prosecutors and public defenders offices, and the local sheriff’s office. Schedule quarterly meetings to review procedures and evaluate risks.
Security Suggestions! Know your staff, determine their individual strengths and weaknesses. You never know when you might need to call on them. Be assertive and demonstrate confidence.
Useful Suggestions As a matter or normal procedure, train your staff to be watchful for the unexpected and/or unusual. Arranged to be notified when problematic or high profile cases appear on your docket. (examples would include issues involving extremists groups, domestic protection orders, etc).
At the Office Arrange for packages to be delivered somewhere other than your office, such as the clerks office or the sheriff’s office. Inform staff to never accept a delivery of any item that they are not expecting. -Unknown or unusual place of origin -No return address -An excessive amount of postage -Incorrect spelling on package label -Different return address and postmark Have procedures for issues such as bomb threats readily available. Printed reaction plans next to phones are an excellent tool. Develop code words that employees can use to alert others of an emergency.
Have procedures for issues such as bomb threats readily available. Printed reaction plans next to phones are an excellent tool. Develop code words that employees can use to alert others of an emergency.
Work Place Park your car with other employee vehicles. Remove any signs or other indications that connect the vehicle to you or your position. Do not have your name or official title displayed at your parking place. Park in a well lit area. Be aware of shrubs, trees, and vegetation. When entering or exiting your vehicle be aware of your surroundings. Look for individuals you don’t recognize.
Check the inside of your vehicle prior to entering. Have your keys ready when approaching your car. (keyless entry) Lock your vehicle after getting inside. When entering the courthouse, do you enter through the back entrance or the front public entrance? Is the door locked? Do you have a keypad or a standard key?
Is the entrance well lit? Caution your staff to be extremely careful of what type of information they give out. For example, never provide information on your travel plans or location. Take messages and guard against offering too much information. Introduce your family to your staff.
In the Event of a Threat Notify Law Enforcement Immediately! Call Local Law Enforcement First! Contact the Idaho State Police Judicial Protection Officers: **Kirk Grothaus (208)484-6585 Schedule a priority meeting with staff and senior law enforcement officials.
Determine the severity of the threat. Determine what activities and events you can put on hold. Consider requesting an armed law enforcement escort to/from work and during any official or social outing. Idaho Court Security Incident Report (See example)
Under Threat Reduce public exposure for yourself and family members. Have a plan of action ready with contingencies. Review the Risk Assessment for your office, courtroom and for your home. Provide reasonable and cautionary information to family members. Make sure they know how to activate home alarm systems.
Personal Information Keep personal information to a minimum. Never leave anything on your office desk, especially at night, that can be used to trace you to your home or family. Register your vehicle to your office address. Avoid personalized license plates. Use your office address on your drivers license and other items such as personal checks. –Exceptions to the Rule If you must list your home telephone number in the phone book, have the telephone company block the address.
Avoid using your official title when it is unnecessary, such as when traveling or conducting personal business. Remember that if you are working in a small community or presiding over a “high profile” case, you will become a public icon. Respond appropriately and with caution.
You and your Family When in public, do not engage in activities or do other things which draw attention or increase likelihood of association with your official position. Blend in with your community.
Maintain recent photos and fingerprint cards of your family members. Keep them in a secure place. Enjoy your outings but always carry a cellular telephone to summon assistance or to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
Residence Be familiar with your neighbors. Be aware of vehicles traveling in your neighborhood and/or unfamiliar vehicle’s parked on your street. Vegetation, trees, and shrubs growing on your property should be maintained on a regular basis. Windows-coverings (blinds) and locks? Size and Location?
Doors: Are they solid or have glass in or around them? What types of locks are they equipped with? Do you have screen doors on any of them? Pet doors? Overhead garage doors-walkway doors. How are they secured? Keypads on overhead doors? Entering and Exiting the garage in your vehicle.
Do you park your vehicle in a garage or outside? How far from the residence and is it open to the public? What types of exterior lighting do you have? Motion lights? Backyard fences and gates? Where are your utilities located at? (Gas- telephone) Are local law enforcement officers familiar with where you live? Do they have a floor plan of your residence in case of and emergency?
Other useful suggestions Keep your house and office keys on a separate key ring from your car keys. Don’t provide others, such as mechanics or valet parking with access to your vehicle’s garage door opener or vehicle’s trunk. Discourage family members from talking or boasting about where mom and dad work. Do not use names on message recordings for home or cellular telephones.
Personally destroy all envelopes or other items that reflect you name and official position Do not answer your telephone with your name or official title. Remove your name, home address and telephone number from many mailing and telephone lists through the Direct Marketing Association’s mail and telephone preference service: Research Google, Spokeo, and Yahoo
Social Networking Be aware of the dangers of using Facebook MySpace Etc. Limit information on these sites
Use a P.O. Box or business address on personal checks. Remove any items containing your personal information from your car’s glove box. Whenever you call a “toll-free” number your phone number will be logged and possibly sold to marketers for mail and phone solicitations.