New security prevents 173 knives weekly from entering courthouse

NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- A taser, a handgun, a big nail, and brass knuckles -- these are just some of the things that the new security system at the Lincoln County Courthouse has prevented from getting inside the building since the measures took effect June 4.

As time progresses, the number of restricted items being brought into the courthouse is declining, though, according to reports from the county's security committee.

During the first week of the new measures, guards stopped 258 visitors from entering the courthouse with a knife. During the week of July 30, that number sat at 190. On average now, the guards find 173 people entering the courthouse weekly with knives and request for those visitors to place knives in a small locker by the south door.

While some taxpayers say that the security updates are frustrating for their costs or "hassle," many tell News 2 that extra security is needed in this day and age.

Either way, numbers may suggest the security helps prevent any potential incident with a weapon.

"It's almost unbelievable the amount of weapons that actually were being brought into the courthouse and still are," Chief Deputy Roland Kramer with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said. Kramer is also a member of the security committee. "The security folks at the courthouse every week remove over 100 pocketknives. Almost daily, they get multiple cans of mace."

Since the measures have been in place, sheriff's deputies have been called to the courthouse only once for a security issue. Kramer says that is a dramatic difference from the number of visits deputies would previously make to the courthouse.

Ultimately, records show that the county gets more positive comments from the public about the system than negative comments.

"It hasn't been quite an adjustment as what some maybe might thought or an inconvenience," Tammy White, the secretary of the security committee, said. "It's really easy to get through security. The public has realized that it takes just a few seconds to get through security, so it's been really easy."

The security committee meets each month to talk about the measures at the courthouse. That meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend. The next meeting is at 9 a.m. on Tues., Aug. 14 in the commissioners' room at the Lincoln County Courthouse.