Hancock County Courthouse Beefing Up Security with New Bailiffs - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Hancock County Courthouse Beefing Up Security With New Bailiffs

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Authorities are beefing up security at the Hancock County Courthouse and residents will notice the change in just a matter of days.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph, Fletcher said he has hired only retired law enforcement officers for their extensive experience and their ability to read the body language of people to keep the courthouse as safe as possible.

"I was looking for experience, people I could count on, people with training," Fletcher said.

Fletcher welcomed the new 15 bailiffs by holding a swearing in ceremony Wednesday. Many of the bailiffs, including Jim Benedetto, have decades of experience working in the Ohio Valley or other parts of the country.

"I have almost 27 years in law enforcement with the federal government as an FBI agent," said Benedetto. "I also did security at the Wheeling courthouse for four years."

The bailiffs will be manning the entrance as well as each courtroom, transporting prisoners, and handling extraditions, which Sheriff Fletcher says will free up his full time deputies.

An attorney who is in and out of courtrooms in Ohio and West Virginia everyday says he's glad that Hancock County finally has the security measures that the surrounding counties have had for years.

"It's a long time coming and everyone will be a lot safer in here," defense attorney Joseph Ludovici said. "We don't know why people are coming into the courthouse and a lot of people aren't always happy to be here."

Sheriff Fletcher also sent the new bailiffs to get additional schooling by the U.S. Marshal Service at the suggestion of West Virginia Supreme Court.

The new security procedures will go into effect on Monday.