• New concerns dangerous items are slipping through security at King County Courthouse

    By: Patranya Bhoolsuwan

    Updated:

    There are new concerns over potentially dangerous items slipping through security at the King County Courthouse.

    Today, the King County Sheriff's Office said the main problem is the aging X-ray machines at the screening stations.

    “Our X-rays are old and some of them are failing and very expensive to maintain,” said Capt. Noel Fryberger, the person responsible for courthouse security, including the screeners.

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    Today, Fryberger displayed before the King County Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee some of the 16,000 items screeners confiscate every year.

    But he said some items, including knives, pepper sprays and brass knuckles, are getting through.

    Lead Marshal David Scrontino said it’s due to current technology that doesn't have high-resolution cameras.

    “You can get a knife or something like this pass our X-ray machine,” said Scrontino. “In this case, if it’s standing on end in somebody’s backpack or briefcase, it’s very hard, with our current technology, to catch that. We have professional people working the X-ray machines but, because of the technology available, it misses it.”

    Right now, two new X-ray machines are in the budget for next year. The Sheriff's Office said there’s also a need for more screeners and marshals.

    The additions are part of a bigger plan to increase safety both inside and outside the courthouse.

    Since last year, KIRO 7 has reported on attacks targeting both jurors and court employees.

    The Sheriff's Office said the violence could easily turn deadly if people have access to dangerous items inside a courtroom.

    “My concern is we are going to miss something and someone is going to get hurt,” said Fryberger.

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