For nearly a decade, officers were exempt from a strict rule at the Kanawha County Judicial Annex in West Virginia that everyone who enters be stopped and checked for weapons with a handheld detector. Not anymore.
Several police officers headed into the facility were surprised when they were stopped for wand searches. Few knew that t he 2001 administrative order was resurrected and posted near the entrance, according to the Charleston Daily Mail .
“They were just surprised when we stopped them,” Lt. Debra Walters, who heads up the Kanawha County Sheriff’s judicial security team, told the Daily Mail. “Most of them thought we were kidding with them, but no; we’re serious.”
Apparently, circuit court judges requested that the original letter of the order be followed. Although police officers weren’t included — or exempted — the judges insisted that they be searched, as well, Walters told the newspaper.
Except for deputies who work security in the building, any officers who enter the annex must lock away their weapons in a monitored storage room.
But there are a variety of items that could still set off the metal detector on officers’ utilities belts — badges, nametags, collar pins handcuffs and keys, for instance. Or even steel-toed boots.
“Everything we wear will go off when we go through the metal detector,” Walters told the Daily Mail. “There’s no getting around it (being wand searched).”
Although a few have “grumbled and complained,” everyone has complied, she said. “Our mission is to keep the courthouse safe….”
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