Cleveland County Courthouse Security Raises Concern
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- After a woman allegedly brought a loaded pistol in the Cleveland County courthouse last week, many are wondering just how safe are Oklahoma's courthouses.
Since September 11, security has been ratcheted up in every courthouse in the land, including the Cleveland County courthouse. But on Monday, county officials met in executive session at the courthouse to talk about whether more needs to be done since last week's incident.
The courthouse is heavily watched by dozens of surveillance cameras, but officials admit they can't catch everything.
Last Friday cameras at the courthouse didn't catch 47-year-old Phibbie Robinson who allegedly caused a scene outside the District Attorney's Office, but that's not all.
"On her way down to the jail, being escorted down to the jail, she was asked if she had any weapons. She said she did have a loaded 9mm in her purse, and that no one ever listens to her and they were going to listen to her that day," said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.
The Sheriff has two metal detectors that would have spotted the handgun, but they are normally only used in high-profile trials, not to screen people entering the buildings.
Permanent screening at the entrances will cost more money.
"One, it takes staff to man it. It takes the upkeep for it, along with that is defining policies for who goes through those machines, possibly who may get a pass from those machines," said Cleveland County Commissioner Rod Cleveland.
Tuesday officials announced a new camera would be installed outside the reception desk at the District Attorney's office. The D.A. has also requested a glass screen be placed between receptionists and visitors.
The Cleveland County Sheriff will have a proposal for improved security ready for County Commissioners to consider on September 3rd.