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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 21, 2011, 10:46 PM

Adams County Courthouse security issues not present in Cass County

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - In talking with Cass County officials today, what happened in Adams County would be highly unlikely to happen in either Cass or Clay County.

An Adams County Man who attempted to open fire in a courtroom has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of attempted murder. A trial date of February 7th has been set for Vincente Chacano. Chacano was charged with two counts of Gross Sexual Imposition in Adams County on February 4th.

It's then alleged that he pulled out a gun and repeatedly tried to shoot jurors and attorneys in the courtroom. The gun never fired and he was tackled by Assistant North Dakota Attorney General Jonathan Byers. It was requested his trial be moved to Cass County this summer.

That Courthouse had no metal detectors and limited security, a common problem in counties that aren't very populated. In talking with Cass County officials today, what happened in Adams County would be highly unlikely to happen in either Cass or Clay County.

Both Cass and Clay counties have metal detectors at the front door. Cass County courtrooms are monitored by armed deputies, usually one at the front and one at the back, in case someone tries to charge the bench.

There are also security cameras throughout the building and inside the courtrooms. Cass County has a staff of 11 people that rotate between courthouse transfer, manning the court proceedings, and watching over the front door.

Captain Rick Majerus – Cass County Sheriff’s Department: “We realized long ago that before anything happens we would like to have that level of security, which we have right now. But in a smaller county, it's difficult, there's a lack of people and not a lot of money.”

Captain Majerus says with the expansion to the courthouse, the security staff will also increase. When the building is complete, two more full-time and two part-time staff members will be added to the rotation. There will be more cameras and other security measures in place as well.

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