Local courtroom security questioned

More than one courtroom sat empty Thursday while deputies manned the hallways of the Shelby County Courthouse. The Sheriff believes how they spend their time needs to be analyzed.

"There is an under-utilization of our officers in the court," says Sheriff Mark Luttrell.

But attorneys who are often on opposite sides have joined together to try and keep the status quo.

"And for some reason, Sheriff Luttrell seems bent on throwing that away," says attorney Larry Rice.

Opponents believe recent data showing just how much court deputies work might have been minimized in order to justify cut-backs.

"Either its total incompetency, it's stupidity, or they're cooking the books," says attorney David Caywood.

Sheriff Luttrell admits some of this record keeping is flawed. He blames inaccurate accounting. But the time deputies spend in the courtroom still needs to be studied.

And that's all we're trying to focus on--how to be more efficient in our allocation of human resources in the courts," says Luttrell.

And those accustomed to making decisions don't want their opinions on court security overlooked either.

"We know the complexities of their job--which may not be apparent at first blush to people not a part of our system of juris prudence," says Circuit Court Judge Kay Robilio.

Luttrell stresses he is only interested in enhancing security. That doesn't necessarily mean cutting corners. Luttrell says changes in some form are inevitable.