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Bonneville Co. Courthouse increases security measures

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Aug 23 2013 08:07:41 PM CDT

Bonneville County Commissioners recently voted to increase security measures by adding metal detectors and X-ray machines.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

One of the fastest-growing counties in Idaho is increasing its courthouse security.

Bonneville County Commissioners recently voted to increase security measures by adding metal detectors and X-ray machines.

It's a mixture of population and popularity; around 800 people go through the courthouse every day, whether its to pay a parking ticket or make a court appearance.

Step inside the Bonneville County Courthouse now and it'll remind you of an airport.

Metal detectors, X-ray machines, and three deputies are right inside the only entrance to the building.

"We want to make sure everyone is safe, but we also want to make sure you're getting into court and everyone's on time," said Sgt. Mike Huston with the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office. "We want to be as efficient as possible."

Before the changes, few security guards were only stationed on the second floor, where the courtrooms are; leaving the commissioners and the elections office unattended.

"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from the employees; especially the ones downstairs," said Sgt. Huston. "They do feel that now that we've secured these areas that we're looking out for them, not just the courts upstairs but the entire building."

Part of that security includes having only one unlocked courthouse entrance manned by two deputies at all times.

On days when foot traffic is heavy, more deputies step in to help.

Thursday morning, deputies ran through 150 people in just 10 minutes.

"The last couple of weeks, we're averaging 800 people a day," said Sgt. Huston. "We've been a little heavier than that on a couple of the days where we've had pre-trials and things like that so we've been up to 1,000 people in one day."

The only unlocked door is in the Law Enforcement Building; you can no longer use the stairway entrance.

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