Courthouse Safety Gets A Look In Washington And St. Paul

State and federal lawmakers are working to make courthouses safer in light of a Dec. 15 shooting of Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell and a trial witness.

“Under no circumstances should our local sheriffs or court personnel have to put their lives at risk to ensure that the basic acts of our judicial system get carried out,” U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said. “My legislation will give courtrooms access to the basic resources they need to make sure that every Minnesotan’s day in court is safe.”

The Franken bill, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., as a co-sponsor, would help courthouses add security measure such as metal detectors.

Executive Director Jim Franklin of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association said most rural courthouses in the state have no metal detectors.

In the Minnesota Legislature, a bill has started its way through the process to allow local prosecutors to carry guns in courthouses, and in courtrooms with judges’ permission.