Colonie town court gets security upgrades

Throwing knives. Marijuana. Pocket knives. The list of objects people have attempted to bring into the Town of Colonie courtroom when they are summoned with an appearance ticket is endless.

However the list of items they will actually get away with bringing into Justice Court will soon get much shorter when new grant-funded security equipment replaces the 15-year-old walk-through devices that are currently in place.

A $6,870 grant was awarded to the Town of Colonie Justice Court last week by the Justice Court Assistance Program, a state program that provides security upgrades for court systems that operate at high volumes.

According to Colonie Town Justice Peter Crummey, the grant will primarily be used to purchase a new state-of-the-art, stand-up metal detector, along with handheld detector wands.

While Crummey said he did not know the exact value of the new equipment, he did say that an upgrade was needed because the older equipment currently in use could potentially be missing items that courtroom visitors are bringing in.

When people come up to their court date, and they are confronted with the detector, not only do they have weapons that can be harmful, but some have brought marijuana up to the metal detector, he said, "Oftentimes, if it's a potential weapon they're carrying, they're told to go back to their car with the item."

While no metal detector would be able to detect marijuana, Colonie Police Chief Steve Heider said that newer models are able to detect new forms of metals and other materials.

"A new metal detector may be more sensitive to different metals," he said, "It involves new technology."

Heider did warn that with new equipment, there could be new manipulations of the system.

"Every machine is meant to be violated in one aspect or another. People do it not even thinking about it," he said, "I don't believe we've had any guns come through, but we have seen pocket knives. A lot of objects are legal to have, but we wouldn't allow them in the courtroom."

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