NEW LEGISLATION HELPS FUND VITAL COURT SECURITY
Additional security equipment and personnel are urgently needed in Delaware’s courts to ensure the safety of judges, litigants, court staff and the public. Recently enacted legislation, Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill 75, is the result of a Judiciary initiative to help address these critical needs in a time of budget shortages by creating a separate court security fund, funded through a supplemental court security assessment. The assessment consists of an additional fee, not to exceed $10, to be included as court costs on all civil filings and on each criminal, traffic or delinquency charge for which there is a conviction, finding of delinquency, or for which a voluntary assessment is paid. Court rules will be enacted to specify the amount of the additional fee for each type of court filing.
Funds collected from the assessment will be distributed each year according to a court security needs plan developed by the courts that will include all courts’ needs, as well as consideration of the needs of Capitol Police in providing court security. Among the anticipated uses for the fund are additional security personnel and security-related items such as security cameras, access card readers, and upgrades to ballistic proof teller windows in clerk’s offices and other areas with public access. The lack of security resources to ensure the safety of the public and court personnel has been of immense concern in the Justice of the Peace Court, with its many shifts of operation and locations, which spearheaded this legislative initiative. Chief Magistrate Alan Davis applauded the tremendous benefits that this initiative will bring to court security in the Justice of the Peace Court, in particular, as well as to the other courts.