Monroe Co Courthouse Security Learns from DE Tragedy

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MONROE COUNTY -- Three people are dead after a gunman opened fire inside a courthouse in Delaware Monday morning.

Police there say the man started shooting and when it was over, he and two women were dead.

Officers in Wilmington are still investigating how it all happened.

The Sheriff of Monroe County says he's using that tragedy as a lesson.

He tells Newswatch 16 his department's mission is to keep everyone, from judges to defendants, safe.

It's a typical day here at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg. Sheriff's deputies stand guard in the lobby closely monitoring and searching each and every person who comes through the door.

"What they do is very thorough and I feel protected enough where I feel they're doing a great job," said Joann Yakscoe of Long Pond.

"You never know with all the crazies out there nowadays," said Frank Yakscoe of Long Pond.

Earlier in the day, Delaware State Police say a man walked into a courthouse in Wilmington and opened fire.

Three people died, including the gunman.

Police say the shooting was not random and they're investigating.

When incidents like that occur, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Martin says he turns his attention to his department.

"We use it as a tool to be able to see whether or not something like that could happen here," said Sheriff Martin.

Sheriff Martin says he makes sure everyone inside the courthouse is safe.

After a security check point, his department keeps a close watch on everyone inside.

For example, during high-profile murder trials like the most recent one of Arthur Schirmer, the ex-pastor convicted of killing his wife near Tannersville.

"We not only have to worry about the security of the people who are here. The judges, the employees, you also have to look out for the safety of the defendant," said Sheriff Martin.

Once you go through the metal detector, if it goes off, the deputies search you.  Then, you put your purse or briefcase on the x-ray machine and the deputies will run it through and search that as well. Then lastly, when all is said and done, you'll turn in your cell phones, which is an added security measure at the Monroe County Courthouse.

He says many phones these days have cameras.

"Because you can take pictures throughout the courthouse, see the details of what we do, how we do it and people can use that against you," said Sheriff Martin.

Sheriff Martin says his department is always on high alert and is always changing security techniques.

Many he can't talk about because he doesn't want to give anything away.