Jackson County sheriff opposes plan to replace armed security at courthouse with unarmed security

Courthouse Security Controversy

SCOTTSBORO, AL (WAFF) - The Jackson County Commission is moving toward removing armed security in the courthouse and replacing it with unarmed.

The commission recently adopted a new budget which would replace the current staff with private security and that is drawing concerns with the county’s sheriff.

Sheriff Chuck Phillips says he was initially told they were just tossing some numbers around. The next thing he knew the change in courthouse security was in the budget. As it stands now if the Jackson county commission has their way these armed law enforcement officers at the courthouse will be gone effective Jan. 1.

Their replacements will be hired unarmed security officers.

Phillips is opposing that move. Phillips says there’s a lot an armed officer can do that an unarmed cannot such as arrest people who have warrants or if they attempt to bring drugs into the courthouse.

Three people work security currently. The sheriff says they work the two doors and the third helps with filling in for lunch breaks and also taking reports from the public.

The sheriff says the commission is looking at amending their decision and keep the armed officers but reduce them to two based on a courthouse security resolution passed by a previous body. That he says, will cause some inconvenience.

“Now if they choose to fund two deputies then chances are one of the doors will close which will be the south door. They say they have to save money and they have to do it some way and this is the way they’re looking at doing it,” said Phillips.

The Commission is expected to address the issue when they meet again on Monday.

Calls to Jackson County Commissioner Tim Guffey were not returned.

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