Beginning today, all visitors to the Kenai Courthouse will be required to pass through a metal detector like the ones used at major airports.
The arch-style detector was installed last week, and after some testing Friday, courthouse officials said the machine should be up and running by late this morning or early afternoon.
Guardian Security Company guards will staff the metal detector at the main entrance to the building and ask visitors to place keys, loose change and other metal objects into little baskets for inspection.
The purpose of the metal detector is to assure that people doing business with the court do not bring firearms or other weapons into the building.
Alaska law does require an armed corrections officer to be present in court when an in-custody defendant is there. Court visitors are prohibited from having weapons in court.
When asked earlier why the metal detector is being installed in Kenai, Administrative Judge Harold Brown said, "I think it's just an increased awareness of the potential for someone who's angry or disappointed with the (court) system to do mischief."
Brown did not anticipate any delays for people entering the building Monday.
A metal detector was installed in the Palmer courthouse earlier this year and Juneau received one last year. Previously only high-traffic court buildings in Anchorage and Fairbanks had them.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.