Clanton Police increasing security during city court

Published 3:16 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Working to keep citizens safe never stops for the Clanton Police Department, even at their own headquarters.

In light of an increase in municipal court cases, Clanton officers are taking steps to make sure that all who sit in the courtroom are safe. The court takes place at the Clanton Police Department on First Ave. N.

The new security measures include more extensive searches, enforcing of the dress code and making sure phones are silenced.

“We have a small courtroom,” said Sgt. Neil Fetner. “Our capacity is 40, and right now we’re getting around 70 defendants and 100 cases per night, and we hold four to five times a month.”

Part of the reason CPD is tightening the rules is to help set an example of courtroom behavior.

“We’re getting a lot of complaints from people,” Fetner said. “People say they don’t know they aren’t supposed to park in the back parking lot, they don’t know the dress code or turn their cell phones off. People say ‘Nobody told us,’ so we’re trying to educate the public.”

From now on, those who enter the courtroom should expect to pass through a metal detector, which if set off will lead to a secondary search.

Another set of rules that are being more heavily enforced is that of the dress code. No hats, headgear, or baggy clothes are allowed. Males must have their shirts tucked in and a belt on. Females are not allowed to wear short shorts.

“Basically, court attire should be business casual,” said Fetner.

He also said the most important thing was keeping everyone in the courtroom safe.

“It’s about the safety of the court personnel,” he said. “Our biggest fear is someone bringing a weapon into the court.”