Judge shuts down court after threat - WSMV News 4

Judge shuts down court after threat

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A Middle Tennessee judge shut his courtroom down after a death threat.

Tonight, less than a week later, that judge said the world is too dangerous to not have a walk-through metal detector in the county courthouse.

Dickson County General Sessions Judge Durwood Moore said that other than the occasional bomb threat, in his 38 years on the bench he has never shut down the courtroom until Friday, Dec. 21.

Moore said after a man threatened to kill him and others in his courtroom, he asked the county mayor to have the sheriff put in a metal detector on the morning of the threatened attack.

"I came in the next morning and it wasn't installed, so I shut it down," said Moore. "I think my first responsibility is the safety of my court. I think it's up to me to make the protection if no one else is doing it."

Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said he went way beyond putting a standing metal detector.

"With myself and some of our administrators, deputies and bailiffs, we had 20 deputies to secure general sessions Friday and to make sure that threat was not carried out," said Bledsoe.

The man was not arrested, did not have a weapon and told the sheriff he believed the anonymous call was made to get him in trouble.

Moore said it doesn't matter. It's a dangerous world and the main courtroom in the county needs permanent metal detectors.

Dickson County previously had metal detectors in the courthouse. There was a metal detector manned for years, and then it stood unused. Sometime after 2008 the metal detector disappeared during a budget fight.

Staffing a metal detector is more expensive than installing one. There is actually one sitting in storage now, there's just no money to staff it.

"My recommendation would be that we need to approach it on the front side of the budget to properly secure and keep the courtroom safe," said Bledsoe.

Budget talks are months away, but court is back in session in January.

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