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Sen. Franken Introduces the Courthouse Safety Act

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Uploaded on Feb 7, 2012

The Courthouse Safety does three simple, common sense things.

First, the bill cuts through bureaucratic red tape, giving local courts direct access to security equipment that federal agencies no longer are using. This provision is modeled after a Defense Department program that allows the Pentagon to give its excess equipment to local police and firefighters. The Local Courthouse Safety Act would do the same thing for local courts: it would give them direct access to the federal government's excess metal detectors, wands, and baggage screening machines.

Second, the Local Courthouse Safety Act gives states the flexibility they need to make investments in courthouse security. It clarifies that states may use their Byrne Justice Assistance Grants and State Homeland Security Grants to improve safety at local courthouses. The bill does not require any new spending, and it does not impose any new mandates on anyone. It simply says that states can use existing federal resources for courthouse security upgrades, if they so choose.

Finally, the Local Courthouse Safety Act provides statutory authorization for the Justice Department's VALOR Initiative, which provides training and technical assistance to local law enforcement officers, teaching them how to anticipate and survive violent encounters.

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