Clare County Sheriff Discusses Courthouse Safety Following Berrien County Courthouse Shooting

With the shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse, courthouses here in Northern Michigan are looking at their own safety.

Right now the Clare County Sheriff says their bailiffs are also armed and there are many other safety measures in place.

Still, he’d like to do more.

Monday’s shooting at the barren County Courthouse has courthouses and sheriff’s departments in Northern Michigan looking at the safety of their own courthouses.

“This is in a courthouse. It’s supposed to be a controlled environment and it’s scary because if people really want to go out and kill somebody, and they have the means to do it, they’re going to do it unless there is intelligence to help us stop it,” said Clare County Sheriff John Wilson.

The Sheriff’s Department has spent the past several years working to upgrade and improve security at the courthouse.

“Our courthouse, you have to go through security, you have to get scanned, you have to walk through the machine there, and if there’s any metal or anything and you have to get searched. We recently were upgrading doors, and locks, and other security systems over there, and video systems we’ve put a lot of money into. We’ve really locked ours down to the point where you walk in it, if you’re going to the court end, you have to go through our security system,” said Wilson.   

Those working inside the courthouse say they welcome the added security, since tensions often run high in the courtroom.

“People are becoming increasingly violent, we are dealing with issues that have high emotions, CSC cases, murder cases, and we’re dealing with things that people have got high emotions about. It makes me feel a little safer, but it can happen just at the drop of a hat, said Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis.  

The sheriff says he’ll be looking at what happened in Berrien County to see what areas they can improve on safety wise.