Walton County Courthouse Security Stays Prepared

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Bailiff's and Sheriff's Deputies say the best way to provide courthouse security is to plan for the un-planned.
Every morning at seven a-m officers at the Walton County courthouse start their day.

"We go through and we check the courtrooms and make sure everything is secure in there. Do a sweep of the courtroom. We check our holding cells. We have a holding cell facility in the courthouse. We check that make sure everything's safe" said Sergeant Dennis Ward.

When the courthouse opens, anyone stepping through the doors must go through security.

A lot of traffic is in here. It's not just court that goes on here, but it’s the tax collector’s office, property appraisers, supervisor of election" said Ward.

When that many people are trying to resolve a variety of issues, emotions sometimes become frayed.
"Sometimes folks want to vent. Well we're the ones you need to vent to. Don't get up here and start screaming and yelling inside the courthouse or anything like that" said Ward.

Regardless of the issues, the deputies say their priority remains the same.

"Our number one responsibility at the courthouse is the safety of the employees that work here, the judges and also the public that comes in everyday" said Ward.

The six officers who work at the Walton County courthouse say gaining control of an out of control situation maintains balance at the facility.