Low tax revenue because of a dicey economy has led to severe cracks in security, especially at local and state courthouses. One example, as reported by the Associated Press this week, is in Maine. There, on many days, the metal detectors sit silent at the state’s busiest courthouse. People walk through the machines without a beep. The detectors are off because the court cannot pay for officers to run them. When cuts are made to security staff, it compromises the safety of the courthouse, said a security expert for the National Center for State Courts. ‘‘People feel that court security is one area that should receive special consideration for funding since it involves protecting the general public who comes to courthouses for services,’’ he said. To help save money, many courthouses have closed one day a month, furloughed employees and temporarily delayed jury trials. The cutbacks in state courts come as threats to federal judges and prosecutors have jumped dramatically. The government report issued last week – and reported by Security Magazine -- found such threats more than doubled in the past six years, growing from 592 in 2003 to 1,278 in 2008.
Security Magazine readers can obtain a redacted DOJ Inspector General’s report by going to