Applications now being accepted for courthouse security grant program
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2017
A new grant program aimed at improving the safety and security of Minnesota’s courthouses and other court facilities is now accepting applications.
The Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative was established by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea and allocated $1 million by the Minnesota Legislature in 2016. Counties and other local government entities that maintain court facilities are eligible to apply, and grants can be used to help pay for security equipment, training, assessments, or other projects that improve the safety and security of a court facility. The requesting entity must demonstrate a 50 percent cash or in-kind match from non-state sources.
Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2017. An advisory panel of judges, court staff, county officials, and statewide justice partners will review and score applications based on grant criteria. Final award decisions will be made in June 2017.
Complete grant application materials are available at: www.mncourts.gov/courthousesecurity
Information and guidelines
“Courthouse security is an important issue not only for the people who work in these public buildings, but for the thousands of Minnesotans who enter their local courthouses every day to seek justice, protect their rights, access government services, and fulfill a variety of duties as citizens and taxpayers,” said Chief Justice Gildea. “It is crucial that these facilities are well-protected, so that Minnesotans feel they can access their local courthouses safely and securely. I encourage all of our county partners to bring forward their best ideas to improve their local courthouse security, and am hopeful that this one-time grant program can be the start of a long-term strategy to improve the safety of courthouses across Minnesota.”
Establishing the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative was the recommendation of the Courthouse Security Workgroup, a statewide coalition of county and justice system partners convened by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea in 2014. The Workgroup included representatives from the Minnesota Judicial Branch, the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the Minnesota Board of Public Defense, and the Minnesota Inter-County Association.
Following passage of legislative funding for the program, Chief Justice Gildea formed the Secure Courthouse Grant Advisory Panel to establish grant criteria and an application process. Advisory panel members will also score grant applications and present recommendations for grant awards to Chief Justice Gildea. The membership of the advisory panel can be found here
Chief Justice Gildea noted that the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative was developed in the wake of an increase in the number of incidents of courthouse violence being reported across the country. In 2005, the Center for Judicial and Executive Security counted 19 incidents of violent acts in courthouses across the country. In 2011 – the year the community of Grand Marais was devastated by the tragic shooting in the Cook County courthouse – that same organization counted more than 90 such incidents.
“From the tragedy in Grand Marais, to violent attacks on public defenders inside our courtrooms, to bomb threats and white powder scares at our court facilities, we know Minnesota is not immune to courthouse violence,” said Chief Justice Gildea. “The establishment of the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative represents the first time Minnesota has taken a statewide approach to improving courthouse security and addressing this important statewide issue.”