State May Be Looking to Crack Down on Courthouse Security, Judge Tells Pulaski Council

If Pulaski County doesn’t take action to secure its court system, the state may decide to step in. That’s what Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn told the county council Monday. “The Supreme Court promulgates what we call administrative rules,” he explained. “Security’s always been in the administrative rules. And they had a committee that suggested ‘should’ in some of the stuff. And the board which controls all of the judges sent to the Supreme Court the rule I gave you, which was created by the committee, again, with revisions, and it said ‘It shall,’ not ‘should.’”

For much of the past year, Shurn has been urging county officials to install a security checkpoint in the courthouse, as the county’s security committee recommended years ago. “You know, we kicked this around, which is essentially [a single] point of entry,” he told council members Monday. “We kicked this around for how many years now? And we just don’t want to tackle it. But I think the Supreme Court’s serious about it.”

Shurn once again requested money for security in the 2019 budget, but council members apparently denied the request. The judge asked Council President Jay Sullivan when the council plans to take some action on the issue.

“I think there’s some things going on that even I’m not fully aware of,” Sullivan said. “I think some of that stuff is being addressed.”

“But we’re not apprised of it,” Shurn replied. “The judiciary is not apprised of it. If there’s something going on, are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

Sullivan responded, “I can’t tell you what’s going on because I don’t know what’s going on. There is stuff being looked at.” Sullivan said the county commissioners may be able to give an answer.

Commissioner Jerry Locke was at Monday’s council meeting. He told Judge Shurn that the commissioners are waiting until they get cost figures before making a formal presentation, but said the plan would include a single point of entry. Locke said they hope to have a proposal ready in time for the council and commissioners’ joint session on October 8. Shurn said he wants to see a resolution before the end of the year.