RACINE (WITI) -- The Racine County Sheriff says the Racine County Courthouse lacked one key component: security! But not much longer. Starting Tuesday, July 29th, those doing business at the courthouse will walk through a new security checkpoint.
Every day, dozens of people walk through the doors of the Racine County Courthouse -- including Renee Shaw, who, when she visits, walks through the back door.
"Because it seems to be less busy," Shaw said.
Starting Tuesday, the back entrance will be closed. Those who park on College Avenue will have to walk around the block -- to Wisconsin Avenue.
"It`s a very small price to pay for such a huge level of security," Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.
Once inside, visitors will be met by a security checkpoint that wasn't part of the courthouse until the Sheriff Schmaling decided to make security a top priority for the building.
"I think you would be hard pressed to find a community of this size, Racine has nearly 200,000 citizens. To have a courthouse that is not secure today is foolish, absolutely foolish," Sheriff Schmaling said.
The new security checkpoint will work just like the one across the street at the Sheriff's Department.
Visitors will be asked to walk through a metal detector and send their belongings through an x-ray machine.
"I can tell you it's fast, it`s efficient, it`s non-invasive," Sheriff Schmaling said.
The new security equipment cost $90,000. It was another $100,000 to staff two armed deputies to man the post. The money is coming out of the Sheriff's annual budget.
Sheriff Schmaling asks that if you need to visit the courthouse -- allow a reasonable amount of time to get through and take care of what you need to.
Sheriff Schmaling also wants to remind folks -- the new security means no weapons of any kind are allowed inside the courthouse. That includes firearms, razors, glass objects, bottle openers, scissors and nail clippers.