Court Security Resources

Court Security Handbook: Ten Essential Elements for Court Security and Emergency Preparedness prepared by the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators Joint Committee on Court Security and Emergency Preparedness (June 2010): An October 2003 survey of state courts "produced a framework for addressing court safety and security called Ten Essential Elements for Court Safety and Security." Those elements were identified as:

  • Operational Security: Standard Operating Procedures
  • Facility Security Planning: The Self-Audit Survey of Court Facilities
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Continuity of Operations
  • Disaster Recovery: Essential Elements of a Plan
  • Threat Assessment
  • Incident Reporting
  • Funding
  • Security Equipment and Costs
  • Resources and Partnerships
  • New Courthouse Design 

Although this handbook is not intended to provide detailed answers to every court security and emergency management preparedness question, it does provide the user a convenient yet significant gateway to this information.


Steps to Best Practices for Court Building Security prepared by the National Center for State Courts (February 2010): In conducting court building assessments, the NCSC assessment team has evaluated court security in terms of "best practices" - guidelines describing those security measures that should be in place with respect to a comprehensive set of topics covering court buildings and court operations. Acknowledging that implementing best practices in court building security will require increasingly scarce budgetary resources, the NCSC assessment team has also developed steps in phases that can be taken toward achieving best practices in various areas of court building security.


Guidelines for Implementing Best Practices in Court Building Security: Costs, Priorities, Funding Strategies, and Accountability, a paper by the National Center for State Courts funded by the State Justice Institute (2010): This paper contains four parts:

  • Part One identifies the estimated costs associated with implementing the recommendations contained in the Steps document (linked above);
  • Part Two includes a framework of priorities that a court may wish to follow in deciding when and how to implement the recommendations contained in Steps;
  • Part Three recommends strategies for seeking the funds necessary to implement the recommendations contained in Steps; and
  • Part Four describes performance and accountability measures that a court may wish to utilize in order to measure the effectiveness of implementation efforts and to sustain funding for those efforts.

Court building security is not a one-time achievement. It is a serious and continuous goal and requires constant vigilence. Following the recommendations in the Steps document, along with the guidance provided in the four parts of this paper, can help courts minimize the risks and help keep the public, court staff, building tenants, and judicial officers more safe and secure.


National Sheriffs' Association Physical Security Checklist