Court cases can range from traffic violations to weapon usage to property damage or theft.
With so many types of people coming and going, especially with criminal or violent behavior attached, proper security precautions are critical. One way to protect your courthouse is with video surveillance systems.
Video surveillance cameras in your courthouse can:
- Deter violent acts, vandalism or other criminal activity.
- Serve as visual evidence should an incident occur.
- Enable quick and efficient response to incidents.
Below, we explain where to place cameras to ensure compliance with legal regulations.
Understand Laws and Regulations
Before installing video surveillance cameras at your courthouse, note associated legalities. Since regulations for video and recording will vary by state and specific circumstances, it’s important to understand your courthouse’s needs. For example, some states allow recording in any public proceeding, whereas other states may only allow it during appellate courts.
In some situations cameras can be used with the authorization of the judge to broadcast, televise, record or take pictures during proceedings, for:
- Evidence presentations.
- Judicial administration purposes.
- Perpetuation of the record of proceedings.
Other legal regulations relate to confidentiality in the courtroom and courthouse. Video surveillance cameras must not be placed in rooms where privacy is expected, such as bathrooms, record rooms or areas where lawyers and clients hold confidential conversations. Always connect with your security vendor, attorney and/or local authorities if you have questions.
Best Practices for Camera Placement and Installation
In addition to understanding legal regulations, know how to properly place and install equipment. Ensure maximum security and functionality:
- Place cameras In the back of the courtroom to monitor the entire area (including well and bench areas).
- Install cameras throughout your courthouse, including entryways, chamber hallways, parking lots, garages and waiting rooms.
- Always work with your security vendor to set up equipment properly.
- Password-protect equipment to prevent hackers from accessing camera footage.
- Ensure software is up-to-date and necessary anti-virus software is installed.
Remember, when in doubt, ask! Consult with an attorney or licensed video surveillance systems vendor to ensure all building code and jurisdictional requirements are met.
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