Pubdate: Fri, 24 Apr 2015
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Chatham Daily News
Author: Vicki Gough
Page: A3


The special constables who work at the Chatham courthouse have
anything but a boring job.

Thanks in part to the range of characters the courthouse draws for
criminal matters mostly.

The special constables are members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service
who are tasked with providing a range of functions, with security
being job No. 1.

On any given day, Const. Jayme O'Reilly, who also works at the
courthouse, says the special constables deal with visitors trying to
enter the building with knives in their pockets.

"We get four to five knives a day coming in with people," O'Reilly
told The Daily News Thursday.

That's a far cry from the 25 to 30 knives special constables found
themselves dealing with daily when the courthouse first opened in the
former Kent County building in 2003.

O'Reilly said courthouse visitors should think about what they are
allowed to take when boarding a plane.

"We're almost at that level of security," he added.

Visitors are first asked to put any metal items, including coins and
keys, inside a basket before walking through a screening device.

If the device activates a sound and lighting system, the person will
be asked again if they have any metal items on them.

After repeatedly denying such, a special constable discovered a man
was carrying a jacknife with the blade darkened from use to smoke an
illegal substance, such as hash.

Because the man lied to the special constable when first asked if he
was carrying anything metal, his knife was confiscated.

Another man was seen walking around the side of the

"He took some methamphetamine and left evidence hidden under some
leaves which court staff located," O'Reilly said.

He also recalled a mother and daughter coming to court one

"As they were approaching the building, the daughter remembered she
had a bag ofmarijuana with her. Her mother took the bag and put it in
her purse," O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly wasn't working at the courthouse at the time, but was called
to make the arrest when the mother tried to enter the courthouse with
the weed in her purse.

"She thought she was supporting her daughter," O'Reilly

Special constables also look inside purses as part of their security

"We had a migrant worker visit wearing a machete, something he used in
the fields for work," O'Reilly said.

The man was asked to leave the weapon in his vehicle.

Knives, screwdrivers and box cutters aren't the only unwanted items
people forget to take out of their pockets before entering the
security screening device at the front door.

"One guy had a crack pipe dangling inside his pants that was tied to
his pants' drawstring," O'Reilly said.

There are also people who become anxious to walk through the screening
system, thinking it could be dangerous to their health.

A recent retrofit of the main entrance at the courthouse has made the
job of the special constables to monitor the flow the people easier.

"Now there is one door in and one door out for the general public,"
O'Reilly said.

Anything confiscated by court staff is disposed.
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