The Sheriff fulfills a statutory mandate (KRS 70.140) in providing Deputies/ and Certified Court Security Officers (C.C.S.O. s) in each session of the Daviess Circuit Courts, Daviess District Courts, and Juvenile Court. There are three (3) full-time sworn armed Deputy Sheriff bailiffs and two (2) part-time sworn armed CSO’s. There are thirteen (13) part-time, sworn, and unarmed C.C.S.O.s that have attended the eighty-hour (80) Court Security Officer Basic Training at Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy. As of this writing, two more CSO’s are scheduled to attend their training in 2016. All newly hired security personnel must attend the eighty-hour (80) class in Richmond, Ky. Once certified, each CSO must attend forty hours (40) of in-service training every other year to maintain proficiency.
Lieutenant Chester Freels is our supervisor of Court Security, and oversees all operations within the Morton J. Holbrook, Jr. Judicial Building. Lieutenant Freels has been with the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office for sixteen years. In 2005, he graduated from the Basic Training course at the Department of Criminal Justice Training. In 2015, Lieutenant Freels graduated from the Academy of Police Supervision, an intense three-week course at the DOCJT. He has also been trained in court security and high-risk trial planning.
Court Security Officers are recognized as an integral part of the Sheriff’s Office mission to protect our citizens and officers of the court. Some of the duties of the Certified Court Security Officers include: front door security screening, establishment and maintenance of emergency communication systems (between the courtrooms and Central Dispatch), courtroom security, video court, prisoner handling/transportation, and assisting the public.
The staff also assists the bailiffs with prisoner transports and video court. The CSO’s open the building each morning and do a thorough walk-through of all floors to ensure that no abnormal conditions exist. If anything is found, it is reported to the building superintendent and/or the Sheriff’s Office. Everything is recorded in a logbook and maintained at the security station.
Another function the Certified Court Security Officers perform is to make regular visits to the Circuit Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner has stated many times he appreciates our efforts in that regard. The CSO’s also test the panic buttons throughout the Morton J. Holbrook, Jr. Judicial Center. These buttons are placed at strategic points throughout the building. If an incident occurs, an individual can press a panic button and the call comes directly to the security station. Previously, panic button responses were relayed to the Sheriff’s Officer through an out-of-town monitoring company. Response time is now significantly reduced.
Our Judicial Security staff is committed to ensuring the safety of all persons who conduct business at the Judicial Center. There have been almost 23,000 cases, conducted at the Judicial Center, in 2019, including numerous felony trials, which concluded without incident. These numbers do not include individuals coming in the Judicial Center for: drivers license, court designated workers offices, master commissioner, drug court offices and pre-trial offices, just to name a few. In reality the number of individuals utilizing the building would be much higher. There has been only one incident where an individual attempted to bring a gun into the building. Thanks to the Certified Court Security Officers, the subject was quickly apprehended.