Chapter 14: Courthouse Security
detector, and duress alarm device monitored in the USMS Command and Control
Duress Alarm Devices. Duress alarm devices must be placed on the staff side of
transaction windows, near the receptionist at the main entrance door, secure storage,
and other selected areas. Duress alarm devices are also placed in interview rooms,
supervisors' offices, and offices of Probation/Pretrial Services supervision officers. The
duress alarm devices must be logically zoned and are monitored in the USMS
Command and Control Center.
Break-Resistant and Ballistic-Resistant Shielding. Judiciary-related offices located
in a facility where weapons are screened at the entry must have break-resistant (UL
Standard 972) transaction windows. Judiciary-related offices located in a facility
where weapons screening is not conducted at the entry must have a public counter with
a ballistic-resistant (UL Standard 752, Level III) transaction window, where required.
Access doors and hardware from the public area to the restricted office area should be
ballistic-resistant (UL Standard 752, Level III). In addition, surfaces within four feet of
the counter must have ballistic-resistant surfaces from floor to ceiling. Where
appropriate in Probation/Pretrial Services and Federal Defender Offices, a CCTV
camera, monitor, and intercom can be used to screen visitors before entering lobby
Security in Special Facilities
The USMS should perform annual security evaluations of existing court facilities and
provide recommendations for needed enhancements to the CSC/BSC.
Existing court facilities often have a single circulation system used by judges, staff, the
public, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and prisoners. Courtrooms and ancillary facilities
(including judges' chambers and trial jury suites) are typically grouped in suites on
either side of a central corridor. Security criteria now require separation of public,
restricted, and secure circulation patterns in court facilities that handle criminal trials.
When planning for the possible renovation of existing spaces for court use, architects,
engineers, judicial staff, and USMS personnel should develop a list of acceptable and
unacceptable security compromises. Security in the existing facility should then be
evaluated against this list.