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Two full time deputies on duty; metal detector at front entrance Calhoun Courthouse gets security upgrade

by Teresa Eubanks, Journal Editor

As of Monday morning, visitors to the Calhoun County Courthouse will be greeted at the front door by a deputy and pass through a metal detector before entering the building.

The change is the result of increased security concerns at public buildings nationwide.

The doors on the south side of the building will no longer be in use during the day; instead, they will be designated emergency exits.

The decision was made by the Calhoun County Commission.  The board is providing $106,746 in annual funding to cover the salaries and benefits for two full time deputies on duty five days a week.

Retired FHP Trooper Doug Grice of Altha and Tomasi Matautia of Blountstown,  who is retired from DOC and has worked with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office since 2014,  began their duties this week.

The County Commission approved the funds for the two deputies during a budget hearing this past September.  Any equipment needed will be paid for through the Courthouse Facilities Fund, established ten years ago through Ordinance 2006-04, which adds a $15 assessment in non-criminal traffic offenses.   Since that time, the assessment has generated more than $200,000 and currently has a balance of $56,287.07.

Before the board took action, the courthouse had one part-time security officer and only used metal detectors for people entering the second floor judge’s chambers and courtroom.

While it may take the public some time to get accustomed to, Clerk of Court Carla Hand said she believes most of the courthouse employees like it and appreciate the extra security.

The courthouse was the last one in the 14th Judicial Circuit to be secured, according to Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel.

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