The Sheriff’s Office began posting a deputy on the second floor overlooking the main lobby – did we mention the big gun, which looks like an automatic assault weapon, but is actually a .223-caliber pump-action rifle that holds a 30-round magazine? – a little more than two weeks ago.
The county sheriff, Karl S. Leonard, said the guard is there as a precautionary measure.
“It’s simply being proactive. We live in a different age today,” Leonard said last week, explaining that there wasn’t a specific threat or “special circumstance” that led him to create the new second-floor post at the courthouse.
Some, however, question the logic. Steven D. Benjamin, a wellknown Richmond defense attorney, said the presence of a rifleman is unnecessary – and intimidating.
“I have no expertise in courthouse security and must defer to those who do,” Benjamin said. “Now, that said, I wonder if there aren’t better ways to ensure that there is adequate security at the entrance.”
For example, Benjamin said, why not simply place another deputy at the entrance who isn’t responsible for checking in visitors?
Being seen is precisely the point, said Leonard, who is making no apologies.
“There’s no secrets here,” Leonard said.