Knives confiscated at Eagle County courts
Eagle County, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado “-One month since the Eagle County Justice Center in Eagle, Colorado tightened security, and employees are calling the program a success that won’t be going away anytime soon.
The center began manning its metal detector and X-ray machine Oct. 1 after years of leaving the equipment lone and basically useless due to a staff shortage, said the sheriff’s spokeswoman, Shannon Cordingly.
“We’ve been trying to get someone in this position for quite some time. It was very important for safety,” Cordingly said. “We were kind of the ticking time bomb.”
That’s not the case anymore. The center hired Deputy Steve Ramsey to man the station while the court is open during the week.
In the 27 days since increasing the security, Ramsey has confiscated 20 knives and several other sharp objects, like razor blades.
“We’re picking up people that have weapons, bringing them into the courts,” Ramsey said.
But it begs the question: If people are bringing weapons into the building now, even with the increased security, what were they bringing in before?
“There were definitely knives in the courtroom,” Ramsey said.
Considering that, Ramsey said the staff feels much safer knowing that he’s got his eyes on every person that passes through the center’s doors.
“The judges feel safer knowing nothing’s going on their courtroom, so that feels good,” he said.
Working the long hallway of the center from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. also gives Ramsey a chance to get to know people, both employees and visitors.
“It kind of becomes the information desk for the sheriff’s office,” Cordingly said. “It’s even nice for the community to get familiar, to feel comfortable with the deputy.”
“I have the job you get to talk to a lot of people and help them out,” Ramsey said. “And I’ve built a rapport with the clerks so they can tell me who I need to be looking out for.”
But Ramsey’s job is much like his last one at the detention facility, which he’ll be returning to in a few weeks. He has to be on the lookout the whole time.
“You’ve got to be real observant out here,” he said. “You’ll see people coming in with knives and they try and shove them in their pockets.”
Ramsey said, though, that people carrying knives isn’t unusual in the area.
“But it only takes one angry person,” Cordingly said.
Chances are that one angry person won’t get far. Cordingly said two more deputies will be added to man the machines once Ramsey returns to the detention facility, and she’s confident the center won’t revert back to the days where just about anyone with anything could walk right in.
“With the results we’ve had the last month, I don’t foresee the possibility of it being taken away,” she said. “We’ve already proven it helps.”
Dustin Racioppi can be reached at (970)748-2936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.