War on Terrorism

Friday, May 16, 2008

Emergency Management for Courts

Emergency management1 is critical to court performance. For many years, court leaders have been concerned with ensuring the safety of all who use the nation’s courthouses. During the 1978 Second National Conference on the Judiciary, participants recognized that “security in the courtroom and in the courthouse has been an increasing problem in recent years” (Friesen, 1978, p. 195). The 1990 Trial Court Performance Standards required courts to ensure the safety of their facilities (Commission on Trial Court Performance Standards, 1990).

In 1995, the National Association for
Court Management produced the Court Security Guide, and several states followed with their own security manuals. This focus on emergency management increased exponentially following the terrorist attacks on
September 11, 2001. Since then, the
court community has heightened its efforts to address safety issues across the board. For example, the September 2002 9-11 Summit (http://www. 9-11summit.org/) brought together court leaders from across the country to discuss emergency management and pool the knowledge of court professionals who experienced emergencies firsthand. Judicial organizations also responded by offering programs on, creating committees to specifically address, and writing journal and newsletter articles on emergency management. The Best Practices Institute Board also acknowledged the importance of emergency management by designating it a focus area for the Institute in 2002-2003.


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