In lew of recent attacks on District Attorney's and Law Enforcement in Texas, how safe is the Wichita County Courthouse? Newschannel Six spoke with Wichita County Sheriff David Duke to find out, he said, "of the outer doors outside the doors up front, it's going to be a hard feat to do. It will set alarms off and will get an emergency reaction at that moment from deputy's."
There is only one way in and out of the courthouse, and there are cameras throughout the entire building. Scanners and metal detectors, screen for weapons and other unlawful items. When asked if they've stepped up safety and security, Sheriff Duke replied, "it's something we're being very vigilant about, to watch your surroundings. We've issued warnings to all the elected officials to always keep aware of your surroundings." In fact, warnings to attorney's and officials are being issued from all over...heading them to watch their backs. "The Texas District and County Attorney's Association, I believe had sent some sort of warning across the board saying, look just be a little more careful", said Criminal Defense Attorney, Bob Estrada.
Estrada said threats and courthouse disturbances aren't uncommon. They're usually in Family Court where emotions run high. But, he's surprised at the recent shift. "It's not family lawyers anymore. You're seeing more law enforcement, more prosecutors which is a surprise", he said.
Estrada mentioned that being an attorney or prosecutor can be a dangerous job but people can't be scared to work. Newschannel Six asked courthouse employees and visitors if they feel the courthouse is a safe place. Responses included, "The staff here and the professionals that work here are very proactive on making sure that we're all safe when we come in."--"Nothing is assured. Not in this day and age. Everybody has to do the very best they can to protect themselves. And to protect the ones that work for them. Right, and to be aware."---"Oh I think they've done a real good job on trying to keep it a safe place."
Sheriff Duke said there are plans to add additional security to the courthouse but he would not comment on what those plans are. For now, the courthouse remains a safe place but it is up to each individual to remain vigilant.