The tragic killing of three people in the lobby of the New Castle County Court House in Wilmington, DE recently is something the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County tries actively to prevent through constant training and vigilance of the areas we are charged with protecting.
My condolences and prayers to the family and friends of those killed, and to the innocent people in the vicinity of the incident who witnessed the horrible event.
Anyone going to a public facility—especially a courthouse—should feel secure and confident as they go about their business. The security and safety of the general public, judges, witnesses, defendants and the accused at the Criminal Justice Center (CJC), Traffic Court and Family Court here in Philadelphia are all our responsibility and we are constantly training our Deputy Sheriff’s and reviewing our security at each place.
Unfortunately, though, when someone with a gun is determined to use it, such a scenario is a challenge for even the best security.
The shootings in Wilmington occurred in the lobby of the county court house prior to people going through the metal detector. The lobby area of the CJC in Philadelphia is constantly monitored by uniformed personnel who are trained to respond in an “active shooter” scenario, and we are always on high alert throughout the day as hundreds of people come in and out of the building.
We’ve beefed up our security by adding two officers on bikes to patrol the perimeter of the CJC, and though we are down in personnel overall, we will continue to keep a uniformed presence in the outer perimeter of the building.
Still, anyone seeing something suspicious, or notice a person acting erratically in, or near any of the above-mentioned facilities should make one of our Deputy Sheriff’s or any police officer in the vicinity aware of the situation.
Again, the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City and County does all that it can to insure the safety of those conducting business with the courts, but awareness on everyone’s part is welcome and appreciated as we go about our daily routine.