People who use the Madison County courthouse should expect changes in courthouse security starting Tuesday.
Courthouse patrons will no longer be allowed to bring food or drink to the courthouse. They also won't be allowed to bring in cigarette lighters, matches or cell phones.
"Anymore, they're not cell phones, they're computers," Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz said over the telephone.
"We're not going to be responsible for safekeeping this stuff as well," Hertz said. "People will have to take it back to their vehicle or wherever.
"It will be similar to the airport."
Hertz's recent decision is modeled after federal court security measures.
"I pay attention to what U.S. Marshals do," he said. "In scope of courthouse and building security, they are the experts. They study it in greater detail than what I'm equipped to do. When they come across a good suggestion, I'm going to follow it."
Courthouse security was recently modified on Nov. 28, when Hertz ordered all patrons except lawyers in the Madison County Bar Association and employees of Madison County government to pass through a security test each time they enter the courthouse.
"We don't want to go through tragedy to find out there's a hole in our system, and then it's too bad for everyone," he said.
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