Advocate editorial board opinion: Maintain safety while keeping pragmatic approach
By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 25, 2012 at 8 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.
Security at facilities like the Victoria County Courthouse is critical because of the various trials in progress, and one can never be fully prepared for an outburst by someone involved in the trials. Security checks offer a modicum of prevention.
We think it is prudent to have some tough security measures, but we also think it practical to have measures that expedite entry into the courthouse for its employees. Even at airports, identification passes get staff in without going through an entire security check.
Full background checks and vetting of courthouse employees could result in them being granted a security pass. This would help to lessen the time it takes for everybody to get into the courthouse. Another possibility is a separate entrance to the courthouse for employees.
This pragmatic approach also would eliminate long lines of people wanting access to the courthouse.
Consideration of others who frequent the courthouse on a regular basis also could be a possibility.
But this would be up to the authorities - the Victoria County Commissioners Court and Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor.
However, a good model for admitting attorneys and contractors is Jefferson County in Beaumont (www.co.jefferson.tx.us/sheriff/chsecurity.htm), where the sheriff there has ID badges offered to attorneys meeting the background checks and paying a $50 fee for the badge.
All in all, while we understand the importance of a secure courthouse, we think safety can be accomplished in a reasonable, practical way.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.