Grant program funds $500,000 in courthouse security improvements
Posted: Friday, March 18, 2022
Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea today announced the award of $500,000 in grants through the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative. The grant funding will go towards the implementation of safety and security improvements in 13 county courthouses across Minnesota.
Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative grants will help fund a variety of courthouse security improvements, including:
- Providing security training to courthouse officials and staff;
- Installing bullet-resistant glazing on glass at public service counters;
- Replacing aging security equipment;
- Reconstructing courtroom spaces;
- Implementing door locks, cameras, key card readers, and duress alarms; and
- Installing or upgrading security screening stations at courthouse entrances.
Grant awards ranged from $1,800 to nearly $155,000. Of the 13 awarded grants, three were for less than $5,000, and six were for more than $25,000. As required by law, each county will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for its grant award, in either cash or in-kind services.
The counties receiving grants through the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative are: Anoka, Becker, Big Stone, Carlton, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Faribault, Hubbard, Koochiching, McLeod, Meeker, Ramsey, and Sibley.
“The Safe and Secure Courthouse reflects Minnesota’s statewide approach to addressing the issue of courthouse security,” said Chief Justice Gildea. “This is another step forward for our justice system, and one that will serve to better protect the thousands of Minnesotans who enter their local courthouses every day. Minnesotans deserve to feel safe when coming to court, accessing government services, or fulfilling their duties as citizens and taxpayers.”
The Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative was established by Chief Justice Gildea and funded by a $1 million appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2016. The grant program was based on a legislative proposal brought forward by the Courthouse Security Workgroup, a statewide coalition of county and justice system partners convened by Chief Justice 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 an Advisory Panel
to oversee the grant application and award process. Grants totaling $1 million dollars were first awarded in 2017, and now a second appropriation of $500,000 has been awarded in 2022.