Brass knuckles, a cane that turns into a sword and a lawn mower blade. These are just a few of the thousands of weapons found at Davidson County courthouses in 2013.
With 1.5 million visitors entering the AA Birch Building each year, security screeners serve as the first line of defense against dangerous weapons like guns and knives from entering the building and harming the innocent.
Chief Sheriff's Deputy John Ford heads up security for the courthouses.
“It's amazing what people would try to bring in the courthouses,” said Ford.
The Davidson County Sheriff's Office gave News 2 an inside look at some of forbidden items that's been seized by courthouse security. Items such ice picks, switch blades and Tasers, among others are just some of the things that have been confiscated.
“It's just amazing, we will fill-up bins every day,” said Ford.
Last year, more than 27,000 prohibited items were discovered at security checkpoints at the AA Birch Building, Ben West Building and Historic Courthouse.
“Some people come in and just don't realize it could be used as a weapon and a lot of it is people just forget,” said Ford.
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said protecting the visitors when entering the courthouses is a top priority.
“We just have to be on our edge all the time because the very next person could be the one that has that risk inside of them that poses a threat to everybody,” he explained.
Sheriff Hall added security measures go well beyond the metal detectors. Security officers constantly check the perimeter of the courthouses since folks tend to stash weapons in bushes to avoid losing them at the door.
During a perimeter check, the security officer made an unusual discovery when one courthouse visitor was found in the bushes, in front of the AA Building, looking for his prohibited item.
“He says he was looking for something, but it's still kind of strange that somebody would be hiding in a bush in the front of the court house so he was told to move on,” said Ford.
Ford goes on to say, “It's not that we want to take people's things, we don't want people's things getting in the hands of the wrong people.”
If you are caught entering the courthouses illegally with weapons like guns and drugs, you could face criminal charges.
The Davidson County Sheriff's Office reached out to the National Sheriffs' Association to audit its courthouse security to discover any vulnerabilities within the system.