- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - Two bailiffs at the Nez Perce County Courthouse will be replaced with three armed deputies as the facility upgrades its security.

Sheriff Joe Rodriguez said that the change comes after discussion with judges who have asked for years for increased security has the prevalence of violence or threats of violence against public employees rose across the country, The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1XVROMo ).

The courthouse was built in the 1800s, with additions in the 1920s and 1970s. The building is equipped with security cameras, but many are wired to be monitored from the firmer third-story jail, which is now a storage unit, making monitoring who enters the building a challenge.

“We have too many entrances to secure it,” said 2nd District Court Administrative Judge Jay P. Gaskill. “We’ve always been looking to increase security.”

Rodriguez said that the bailiffs, who have a combined 43 years of experience at the courthouse, were no longer certified to carry firearms inside the facility.

In Idaho, weapons are off-limits in courtrooms, but individual judges have the discretion to allow law enforcement to carry firearms in the courtroom.

Though violent issues in the complex are not common, they do occur. A decade ago an unarmed man with psychological issues attacked court personnel.

“There is a responsibility to provide the public and public employees a certain level of security,” said Clerk-Auditor Patty O. Weeks.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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