NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – In just two and a half hours, more than 3,000 people flow through the A.A. Birch Building’s security checkpoint during the morning hours.
Contracted security screeners are at the checkpoints looking for suspicious activity, along with prohibited items and weapons.
“We have to make sure to protect everyone coming into the courthouse,” Davidson County Chief Deputy John Ford said. “We have to look out for the judges, staff, victims of crime and even defendants when they are in this building.”
The sheriff’s office oversees security all of Metro Nashville’s Courthouses. Between the A.A. Birch Building, the historic courthouse and the juvenile courthouse, three million people were screened.
Some of the items confiscated include weapons including three guns, swords, knives, brass knuckles and Tasers.
But screeners also catch smaller items that people may not think of as dangerous like forks, hair combs and small canisters of mace on key chains.
“We have to make sure none of those items that can be used as a weapon get into the courthouse, “ Ford said.
The security personnel also searches outside the courthouse periodically for items people ditch before entering into security.
Recently, guards found 58 grams of marijuana packaged for resale hidden in the bushes outside the courthouse.
Security will allow people to take prohibited items to their car if the item is not illegal and the person has a legal right to have it.
For guns, if the person has a permit they are allowed to take the weapon back to their car. Metro police are alerted in there is a not a permit.