Going to the courthouse? Take off your belt

On Jan. 4, I had cause to visit the Darlington County Courthouse. On any of my visits, I know that I will have to empty all of my pockets before I pass through the metal detector, so I leave anything not pertinent to my visit in my vehicle to expedite the process.

Upon entering, I was informed by the deputy that if I was wearing a belt, I would have to take it off. I immediately asked her if she was kidding and when did this policy start.

She informed me that the policy always existed, but they needed to start enforcing it. I removed my belt and walked through the metal detector and the alarm sounded. I looked at her and told her that I had metal in my leg. She took my word for it; I went on my way.

My question is: Just how serious are we about security at the courthouse?

In the past several years, I have had business at the courthouse on numerous occasions and never had to remove my belt. Deputies had me raise my shirt/jacket to satisfy that requirement.

I don’t know why I had to be inconvenienced on this occasion.

Also, why wasn’t the wand used when I went through the detector and the alarm sounded? My word was accepted that I had metal in my leg and not a weapon strapped to my leg.

My belt, which would have been clearly visible, was more of a concern than the possibility of me having a weapon concealed along my leg.

My point is that execution/enforcement of the rules are inconsistent. We as the public don’t understand why we are being unnecessarily inconvenienced when common-sense practices would have accomplished the same result.

My last point is that this is an illustration among many others as to why County Council needs to get serious about a new courthouse and separate public administration building.

If I’m paying my taxes in a public administration building, I probably will still have on my belt.

Darryl K. Stapleton,

Author: Rachel Howell

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