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County Lauded by Justices For Courthouse Security

When the Ohio Supreme Court came to Ironton last month, they examined more than just legal cases.

Friday, April 27, 2001

When the Ohio Supreme Court came to Ironton last month, they examined more than just legal cases.

They reviewed the Lawrence County Courthouse security. And, they were impressed.

"You have done more with your money that anyplace I’ve seen," Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton said. "I’m pleased to see the action this court has taken to protect the public."

Just over 5 years old, the courthouse security system operated through Lawrence County Common Pleas Court started under a Supreme Court mandate and grant – and chief constable Jack Dennin couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

"It’s all about safety, and stopping problems before they occur," Dennin said. "I really commend my officers. That’s what makes it a success."

Seven officers escort prisoners, work metal detectors at doors, maintain security cameras and locks inside the building, stand in courtrooms, and work with any office that requests them, he said.

Over the last few years, the number of weapons brought into the courthouse – guns, knives and everything else – has decreased, Dennin said. There have been fewer fights, less dangerous situations really just improved safety for everyone that uses the courthouse, he added.

"Emotions still flare now and then, but people feel safe," Dennin said. "We try to be good to the people of Lawrence County but our job is to protect the people of Lawrence County."

Some might still argue about having to empty pockets and go through security, but Dennin’s quick to note that even the Supreme Court justices walked through the metal detectors.

"We’re not here to make people mad, but we can’t make a difference for anyone," he said. "It’s all about order and safety. There would have been a lot more fights without us; and we’ll never know how many guns."

After justices’ review of security they said the county used its money wisely, he said.

Dennin added that it could not have been done without his staff, and Marty Smith’s excellent installation of the security systems.