Increased security will soon be in place at the Cook County courthouse

Security at the Cook County courthouse is ramping up.  By a vote of 4-1 on October 8, 2013, the county board approved the purchase of a portable X-ray machine and walk-through metal detector to be used at the courthouse.  Commissioner Garry Gamble cast the sole no vote.

The cost of the X-ray machine, including delivery, set-up, and training, will be $21,950.  The cost of the walk-through metal detector, including delivery, will be $2,550.

Sheriff Mark Falk had previously talked to the board about an opportunity to obtain an X-ray machine for free from the FBI.  It was not portable, however, and it would only be able to process small bags, he said. 

The X-ray machine that will be purchased was discounted $1,000 because it was used, but it was only used for one event – the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in September.  It comes with a full factory warranty.

The new equipment will be used only on court days unless the county board decides it should be used all the time.

Commissioner Garry Gamble acknowledged that the reason for security equipment such as this would be to increase safety, “but I hate to see us move in this direction,” he said.  Citing health and budget concerns brought up by community members, he reiterated, “I don’t know that this is the direction I’d like to see us go.” 

County Attorney Tim Scannell, who was shot in his office in December 2011, supported the purchase, saying the world has changed.  “This is just a response to the change,” he said.