Courthouse shooting raises questions on courthouse security - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Courthouse shooting raises questions on courthouse security

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

A shooting at the Jackson County Courthouse is raising questions on courthouse security across eastern Iowa.

The former city manager of Maquoketa is dead after the Jackson County Sheriff says he opened fire at a Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday morning.

There were no metal detectors at the Jackson County Courthouse, and it's not the only courthouse across eastern Iowa without them.

"Right now we have very little security at the Johnson County Courthouse," said Janet Lyness, Johnson County Attorney. "We would really like to have metal detectors so we can make sure people are not taking guns and knives into the courthouse."

Lyness says security has been a concern for years at the Johnson County Courthouse.

She says incidents like the one in Jackson County, has leaders in Johnson County pushing for the new courthouse annex, to provide tighter security.

In November, voters will be asked to approve the courthouse annex that would add security, including metal detectors, something Lyness says is essential.

Currently, there are no metal detectors and only two deputies who patrol the Johnson County Courthouse grounds.

Lyness, says they are able to set up a portable metal detector outside a courtroom when there are high profile cases.

"But it doesn't take care of everybody else in that courthouse or when people are not in that courtroom," said Lyness. "Something that we're concerned about. Not only for the people who are at the courthouse on a daily basis whether the staff, who work there whether judges, clerk of courts office county attorney's office, but everybody who goes there whether you're there to pay a fine, whether you're there to testify."

She says jurors have come up to her concerned for their safety because of the lack of metal detectors and stronger security when covering high profile cases.

We checked with other counties and the the Linn County Courthouse has metal detectors while Bremer and Benton Counties do not.

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