New safety measures at the Jim Wells County Courthouse will take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 16.
"I know it's a bit of an inconvenience, but we have to look at the bigger picture, said JWC Sheriff Daniel Bueno.
The public will now have to enter and exit the courthouse through the east side of the building, Cameron Street entrance, as the other three access points will be locked, according to Ryan Farrell, JWC Safety Officer. The courthouse will also be locked during the noon hour.
However, in case of an emergency all doors are equipped with maglock, an electromagnetic lock that can be opened with a push of a button. Employees will have keycard access to the west side of the courthouse.
When people walk through the east side doors, they will put their belongings on a table and walk through a metal detector or be inspected with a hand held wand before being granted access to the courthouse.
"We are trying to prevent access points, threats mischievous activity, anything that can be harmful to employees and the general public," Farrell said. "We're trying to create a safer environment for everyone."
Other changes to the courthouse include upgrades in cameras that will be monitored 24 hours a day.
"We are ensuring security measures inside the boundaries of the courthouse, interior and exterior. That in itself is a plus to Jim Wells County because of the many fragile situations going on in this country. It's imperative that we take these actions for everyone who visits the courthouse," Bueno said.
The two deputies posted at the public entrance have about eight decades of experience between them.
These safety measures were approved by the commissioner's court in February and the equipment was purchased by the sheriff's drug forfeiture fund in the amount of $4,417.