Court Gains Guard Funding

Court Gains Guard Funding

The Loudoun County Circuit Court clerk has gained permission to hire an armored security guard to handle daily bank depositions.

Gary Clemens told the Public Safety Committee Monday that relying on a deputy sheriff and a court employee to make the deposits is difficult. "I wouldnÕt say itÕs impossible, but É there is a constant demand for courtroom security," he said. "We canÕt guarantee what time they would be available to us."

Jim Clem, chairman of the Board of Supervisors committee, said he was concerned for the safety of the employee. "ItÕs not safe," he said. "People donÕt realize they establish patterns. ItÕs a dead give-away."

Clemens said he appreciated ClemÕs concern. "Yours truly took the money many times," he said.

CLEMENS COLLECTS money for land and deed recording, fines, restitution, marriage license fees and other clerk services.

The Leesburg Police Department provided security during fiscal year 2000. The department notified the clerk that it could no longer supply assistance. In FY01 and FY02, the courtÕs security division of the SheriffÕs Office provided a uniformed deputy in an unmarked vehicle to escort an employee. Then the SheriffÕs Office said it could not provide the service.

During FY03, employees made the deposits without a security escort and using an employeeÕs personal vehicle. A state auditor, however, cited security problems.

In FY2004, the clerk asked the SheriffÕs Office to resume providing an escort. The SheriffÕs Office, however, often lacked the staff to assist with the deposits because of additional entrances and offices in the new courts complex, Clemens said. "We were advised due to the new security requirements of that buildings, they may not be able to assist us on a daily basis."

He said he tried to obtain state funding for an armored service, but the effort failed. He said he also tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the bank to provide the service.

Hiring an armored guard will free up his staff for another hour of court work, Clemens said. It would be more cost effective to pay the guard than to have a deputy and employee make the trips.

THE COMMITTEE voted unanimously to allocate $2,500 to $5,000 from the current budget for the service. The funds come from the FY05 unrecognized recordation revenue.

Clemens said he has researched the issue and determined that some banks will provide the service for free. "ThatÕs something I am working on for next