Court Security Committee
Court Security Newsletter - June 2010
COURT SECURITY QUARTERLY
THE VALUE OF THE INCIDENT REPORT
Inside Courts has a valuable mechanism for reporting incidents that should be utilized by every court. The Court Security Incident Report Form has been used by many but not all courts to report security incidents or incidents interfering with the administration of justice. We need to increase the reporting frequency in order to create a documented history of the violence and safety issues faced by our state’s courts, its employees, and those who use the courts. By thoroughly documenting the incidents faced by our courts, we can look to secure funding from the state and federal governments to support our courts.
An incident is defined as a threat to or assault against the court or court community, including court personnel, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors or others using the courthouse. It also includes any event or threatening situation that disrupts the court or compromises the safety of the court or the court community. This definition is found in the Courthouse Public Safety Standards, accessible through the Security section of Inside Courts.
The incidents noted above all occurred in or around our state courts this year, and reflect just a small sample of the incidents reported. Incidents that should be reported include not only threats to judges and staff, but threats to anyone involved with the administration of justice such as probation officers, security officers, attorneys, witnesses, jurors, etc. Reportable incidents also include assaultive behavior, disruptive behavior, and anything that threatens the safety of those within or around the court, such as a confrontation in the lobby, or a weapon found on court property.
Courts should not only report incidents that happen within the courthouse, but incidents that happen on the courthouse steps and in the parking lot. Reportable incidents may also include events away from the courthouse, such as a threat received by a judge or staff member at their home, on their email, or even on a social networking site. Any event that results in a security or police response, or the need for additional police presence should be reported.
If you have any doubts regarding whether or not something would be considered an “incident”, submit an incident report form. Committee staff members review each report received. We prefer that courts over-report than under-report incidents, so that we understand completely the security risks faced by our courts and the issues we may need to address.
The Incident Report form is a short form that takes a few minutes to fill out, and it can be submitted online or via email. You can access the Incident Report form on Inside Courts within the Court Resources tab by selecting “Security”. A direct link to the Incident Report form is included at the end of this newsletter. The Court Security Committees wishes to thank those courts that currently submit reports and those who will submit reports in the future.
Your Court Security Committee appreciates the efforts made by each court, and we are working hard to support you. Do not hesitate to contact us with any issues or concerns you would like to see addressed in the future. We have again included a short survey, and appreciate your participation. Please respond via email to the questions below.
BJA Court Security Committee
For a Court Security Incident Report Form, click here: Incident Report Form
View the most recent incident report log. Click here: June 2010 Incident Report
View the Courthouse Safety Standards. Click here: Courthouse Safety Standards
Have a Safe & Happy 4th of July!!
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