Supervisors OK X-ray machine for courthouse

Published 2:28 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Getting into the Adams County Courthouse should be a little quicker in the near future, thanks to a new X-ray machine the board of supervisors voted to purchase at Monday’s meeting.

The machine, which should be installed in a number of weeks, will scan packages and purses, Civil Defense Director George Souderes said. That will speed up the process, which now requires security personnel to hand-search each bag.

“It will make it easier, so we don’t have to go through bags,” Adams County Sheriff Ronny Brown, whose office employs the courthouse’s security personnel, said.

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The machine will function much like X-ray scanners in airports. It should speed things up, too, Brown said.

“So many people come in and out of there,” he said. “This should make it easier to protect everybody.”

The purchase will also include new security wands and a new metal detector. The metal detector currently in the courthouse belongs to the federal court, Brown said.

The board received only one bid for the machine, which will cost $23,310.

“We had four prospective bidders call,” Souderes said. “I faxed them the information, and only one actually bid.”

But the bid, from a company called Rapiscan, was fair, Souderes said.

“It actually came in under (previous estimates),” he said.

A grant form the Department of Homeland Security will fund the new equipment, he said. The county will pay for the equipment and installation, and Homeland Security will reimburse the money, he said.

Hattie Fletcher, who works as court security, said she was looking forward to the new machines.

Once she learns the details of how it works, she said she thought it would speed things up.

“It takes more time to search (bags) individually,” Fletcher said. “It will make it much more convenient.”

Fletcher said she has seen people attempt to bring some strange weapons into the courthouse.

“One woman had a Taser that looked like a pen,” Fletcher said. “I accidentally shocked myself with it.”

Another time, she found a knife disguised in a makeup container.

The new X-ray machine might pick up oddities like this more easily, Brown said.

“This should help a lot,” Brown said. “Hopefully, it will deter people from bringing that stuff in.”