St. Charles Parish Courthouse security rises
Published 11:45 pm Friday, September 12, 2014
From staff reports
HAHNVILLE — A centralized entry way for courthouse visitors, a trip through a metal detector and submitting all baggage for X-ray are part of the new security procedures visitors will notice, starting this month.
“With the advent of this new security infrastructure, the St. Charles Parish Courthouse is moving in line with others around the greater New Orleans area,” St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said.
The St. Charles Parish Courthouse, located at 15045 River Road in Hahnville, will implement the security screenings beginning Monday with the goal of maintaining a safe and contraband-free environment.
Members of the public needing to access the courthouse will enter using the front lobby doors closest to the Sheriff’s Tax Office between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays, exclusive of holidays.
All patrons will be screened at this location via metal detector, and all personal baggage will be X-rayed for prohibited items.
Items such as illegal narcotics, firearms, knives, scissors, carpet or box cutters, letter openers or other edged weapons are considered contraband unless it can be shown that the person in possession has a legitimate need to possess the item inside the courthouse.
“Many individuals from various departments and agencies based within the courthouse came together to ensure a smooth implementation, and we are looking forward to a safer and more secure building,” St. Pierre said.
If the possession of contraband constitutes a criminal violation, the items shall be seized and the person taken into custody or issued a criminal citation.
Individuals found with items that would otherwise be legal to carry, such as small pocketknives and pepper spray, will be advised that they will not be allowed entry with the items in their possession.
In addition, security personnel will not store the items or accept them as discarded property. Therefore, courthouse visitors are advised to leave such items at home or in their vehicles before entering the building.
Courthouse security will also be manned according to the schedule of after-hours activities that take place within the building, including early voting, Election Day voting, public meetings and court proceedings.
The general public is also reminded cell phones are prohibited in all of the courthouse’s three courtrooms.
Only court personnel or attorneys appearing before the court will be allowed to retain their cell phones while inside a courtroom.
Failure to comply with this provision may subject the violator to contempt of court proceedings.
The St. Charles Parish Council adopted new rules in December to govern security in and around the courthouse building.
For more information, contact the Courthouse Security Office at 985-783-6237, extension 2023. The full rules and regulations regarding courthouse security may be accessed under legislative file 2013-0440 at stcharles.legistar.com.