Maine courthouses need more security, chief justice says
AUGUSTA, Maine—Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley is seeking funding to increase security at the state’s courthouses.
Her request to the legislature would mean a $4.9 million increase in the next two-year budget, the Kennebec Journal reported.
"Courtroom security has to be our top priority," Saufley told the newspaper. "The reality for safety is you need people. You simply must have the right people in the right place to assure there are no guns brought into the courthouse."
She proposes adding 35 marshals and five sergeants to the current staff of 63 for the state’s 38 courthouses.
"The marshals are finding that people still forget and have weapons in their pockets," Saufley said in the newspaper report. "On a not-irregular basis we have people who remember not to bring a gun in, but have ammunition in their pockets." Marshals continue to find knives and illegal substances on people, according to the report.
While each courthouse has proper screening equipment, Mary Ann Lynch, government and media counsel for the state’s judicial branch told SDN, they do not have the personnel to run them 100 percent of the time. The state average is 50-percent screening, she said.