Security changes at Darlington County Courthouse

Darlington County Council evaluated security at their courthouse and found a need to do things differently.

In addition to other changes, now when residents walk into the courthouse, there is an armed deputy with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office standing behind the metal detector.

"The public safety is our number one priority and you should be able to come to the courthouse without fear of being injured or having anything bad happen to you, " explained Sheriff Wayne Byrd.

Hundreds of people go in and out of the courthouse everyday to take care of business. Court officials say that number significantly increases when court is in session.

Many residents say they feel more secure knowing the Sheriff's Department is in charge.

."I think it's a great idea. It gives everybody the security that they need knowing that the Sheriff's Department is right here at the courthouse," said Donna James, a resident.

There's new construction taking place inside a hallway of the courtroom, but officials can't disclose any details about it for security reasons.

Officials did say that inside the lobby, there's only certain doors off limits to the public.

"Only judges and prisoners come through this door. We have a security lock on it here," said Deputy Will Cline.

If anyone tries to sneak through the door, a loud bell will ring throughout the courthouse.

Officials say the operations cost for deputies working the courthouse is just a little more than the private company. A private company worked security until two weeks ago.

We're waiting to find out the just how much the changes are costing the county.