SHERMAN, Tex. -- The Grayson County Justice Center is improving its security. Authorities say it's to better protect employees and the public. County officials say recent violence at courthouses across the country brought on the decision to take safety precautions now before it's too late.
In 2005, a gunman opened fire on his wife and son in front of the Smith County Courthouse in Tyler, Texas, killing his wife and an innocent bystander before being shot.
It’s tragedies like this officials want to prevent in Grayson County.
"We have no idea whets coming into this building right now. We have no way of knowing,” Grayson County Sheriff Keith Gary says.
Sheriff Gary says hundreds of people pass through the doors of the Grayson County Justice Center everyday. Gary, along with other county leaders, wants to make sure none of them are bringing in anything dangerous.
"What we're doing is what counties to the south of us are doing, Collin County, Denton County...it’s just reached the point that we have to protect the judiciary. We have to protect the folks that come and go from this building as much as possible."
An x-ray machine along with a magnetometer was installed at the front door this past week. Approximately $310,000 was appropriated in this year's budget for changes to the justice center, and county officials say that's a small price to pay to keep track of everyone.
"Any packages that are brought in or any case has to go through the machine and everyone will walk through the magnetometer."
So far, officials say they have received a positive response from many who have seen the equipment that's similar to what you'd see at airports nationwide.
One difference at the Justice Center is that visitors will not have to take off their shoes or their belts.
"We’re going to make this as user-friendly as possible, and we want them to feel welcome in the building. We don’t want anyone to feel threatened by anything. This is for their good, as well as for folks that work in this building."
Grayson County will hire contract help to run the equipment. Officials say they hope to get the machines up and running by the first of the year.