News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Courthouse screening should be for everyone

You might say Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett ran into a bit of bad timing this week. He had no way of knowing that a Pickens County district judge would get himself arrested in Mississippi on a drug charge and call the sheriff's new courthouse policy into question.

To some people, the judge's arrest makes a solid case against the sheriff's decision to give local judges, other courthouse employees and lawyers exemption from screening to enter the building.

If you've been to the courthouse within the last six years, security workers screened you to prevent potential troublemakers. The sheriff decided recently that courthouse employees and lawyers are less of a threat than the run-of-the-mill Morgan County citizen. Hence, he offered them a special identification card that allows them to forego screening.

Meanwhile, in Columbus, Miss., police arrested District Judge Ira D. Colvin for possession of methamphetamines. Police arrested his wife in Columbus earlier this year on similar charges.

The sheriff's gesture is well intended. Perhaps, the special class of familiar faces is less prone to violence, but sorting the few bad guys from the good ones is part of the screening process.

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