Madison County tightens courthouse security

By Christina Stueve | Nov 29, 2011


Maurice Mixon, 52, of Alton, goes through the security line at the Madison County Courthouse on Thursday, while bringing a friend to the courthouse.

Security has been tightened at the Madison County courthouse.

As of Nov. 28, anyone walking into the courthouse, excluding Madison County government employees and lawyers of the Madison County Bar Association, will have to pass through the security screening line.

There are two doors providing access to the courthouse at its main entrance. One is secured; the other one - which now is limited to personnel and local lawyers - has been used by reporters and other regulars who conduct business at the courthouse.

"In an ideal situation, I would like enough manpower that everyone goes through, so I can guarantee safety," said Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz.

Hertz said he met with Chief Judge Ann Callis, State's Attorney Tom Gibbons, Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci, and Edwardsville attorney Bill Lucco on Nov. 15 to discuss the changes.

"I pay attention to what goes on nationwide as far as courthouse shootings," Hertz said. "It doesn't have to happen here before I do something.

"The chances of it happening here are just as great as having it happen on another side of the country. People who say it won't happen here are foolish."

Hertz said there is no equivalency with convenience and security.

"If something happens, then the Monday morning quarterbacks will come in looking for a flaw in courthouse security," he said. "The only people exempt are Madison County government employees and members of the Madison County Bar Association, and even that, I don't fully embrace."

There is an additional courthouse entrance from North 2nd Street, one that only judges may access.

"If I'm responsible for guaranteeing security, then you have to bear with me on what I think is prudent in order to accomplish that mission."

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