WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — New security protocols are in place at the Walker County courthouse, but not everyone was pleased with the changes after the first day.
Walker County Commissioners have been working to make safety improvements at the building that are more in line with other nearby courthouses.
Until Monday, neighbors were able to use multiple entrances, but now must go to the front.
“We were just one of the few that had not been locked down. We are now at this point,” said Walker County Commission Chairman Steve Miller.
There will also only be one entrance to the courthouse annex. Both locations will have additional deputies.
Now, a total of four deputies will patrol the courthouse.
“That allows deputies to monitor and see anybody coming in or out that could create a problem,” said Miller.
In a building that houses the courts and busy county offices, leaders stressed the importance of protecting residents, officers of the court, and other county employees.
“These folks that work here want to be secure at work and don’t have to worry about somebody coming into the courthouse to do harm to anyone,” said Miller.
Larger items like bags and purses are no longer allowed inside, but several neighbors were frustrated to only learn about the changes after walking from their parking spot.
“I understand completely, why they want to enforce that though, with today’s times. I had to go all the way down the steps, all the way to my car and leave my personal belongings in the car,” said Kim Hayes.
Hayes wants to see signs placed near the court parking lot that will help remind neighbors of the changes. Walker County resident Morgan Nicholas also had to return to her car to leave behind an item.
“I understand they are security purposes, but I think there could be a better way of going about it, doing a bag check or something like that,” said Nicholas.
Individuals with special needs previously used lower entrances to access the elevator. Now there’s a new lift, but there are space limitations.
Commissioners said additional upgrades are coming that could make it easier for residents and deputies.
“We are working on the process of getting some of these x-ray machines and scanners that will help some of this and make it a little bit easier in the future,” said Miller.