Efforts to beef up security at Pointe Coupee courthouse
NEW ROADS - A judge's concern for his safety led to beefed up security measures this week at the Pointe Coupee Parish Court House.
Judge James Best at the 18th Judicial District Court believes the additional protection is well overdue, and wrote a letter last month to parish leaders asking for added security.
"I must admit things are changing and I have a family and it is important for my family and other families that we get very serious about security in this courthouse," Judge Best said.
The new measures include detailed screenings, added manpower, newer equipment and eliminating all but one entrance into the courthouse.
"It reduces your ability to escape," said Pointe Coupee Sheriff Bud Torres. "When everyone has to state their business, it changes the whole game."
The next level of protection to be added will be new security cameras.
"There will be manpower watching the cameras observing to make sure everyone is safe and if something does happen they can identify it quickly," Judge Best said.
The new equipment and additional officers will cost the parish an extra $12,000 a year. It's a price Police Jury President Melanie Bueche says they are more than willing to pay to ensure everyone who enters the courthouse is protected.
"Everybody feels so much better and I'm certain that the people of Pointe Coupee, when they come to court, will know that the rules have changed and they will feel much more secure," Judge Best said.
Sheriff Bud Torres expects the new security measures to be fully online within the coming month.