Rockford law enforcement buildings receive security upgrade - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford law enforcement buildings receive security upgrade

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Security in two of Rockford's law enforcement buildings tightens with a surveillance upgrade all to protect the people who go in and out every day.

The next time you head to downtown's Public Safety Building or Criminal Justice Center check your pockets one more time, take off your wrist watch and maybe think about wearing suspenders.

"We can pick up things as obviously guns and other types of thick, metal objects but we can get all the way down to needles and razor blades and stuff like that," said Tom Owens, Winnebago County Sheriff's Department Director of Security.

Thinking of taking an illegal item into the Public Safety Building?

"Anything we want to look at can pretty much be picked up on this."

Think again.  New surveillance equipment makes it next to impossible, even if you're mixed in with the multitude coming in and out of the PSB or Criminal Justice Center everyday.

"In a weeks time, we have over 10,000 people come through that particular building so it's not unusual to have a line," said Owens.

The new system, Autoclear replaces the 15 year old security surveillance that was used.  

The metal detector, x-ray combo pinpoints metal and other objects, identifying them then circling them on a screen for the security guards.

Finding illegal objects isn't rare.

"Oh, everyday we find things.  Anything that goes on in the streets of Rockford as far as crime is concerned eventually ends up in our courthouse or in the CJC," said Owens.

"Regardless of what you're coming to the courthouse for, we want to provide a safe, secure environment for anybody visiting the courthouse, regardless of the reason they're here."

Installation of the new system took about two days.  If you saw a line Monday, there were some kinks that needed to be worked out.  Everything is up and running smoothly now.

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