New Rule + No Lockers = Courthouse Confusion @WatchDogBen
GREENSBORO, NC -- You've got five seconds to find your cell phone. Easy right? Don't even need all that time. You probably had it right next to you.It's always nearby - almost part of you. But not at the Guilford Courthouse. In February, they started enforcing a ban on all electronic devices for security reasons. They've even hired an extra guard in the mornings to tell people about the new rule.
But many people still forget or don't know about the ban that's having some unintended side effects.But there's no secure place to store it. So some resort to hiding their stuff here under the benches. Even burying it in the bushes. We found an expensive digital camera, headphones, a smart phone complete with extra sim cards and a charger under a bench.
Who in the world would hide their phone outside? David King did. He said he was pretty nervous about it, but a family member dropped him off at the courthouse and he didn't have any other option. "I went outside and I stood up against one of the walls, and I was acting like I was smoking a cigarette and I just kinda bent down and slid it under the steps so no one would see and I just left it there." Luckily his phone was still there.
Another option - miss your scheduled appearance like Maya Petteway says she did because she had to find something to do with her phone. "It means that I could get a warrant and possibly go to jail."
Jaquilla Hill walked back to her car to hide her phone, which made her late. She worried what kind of message that sent to the judge. She says, "It means it's kinda an apathy of situation because you're not on time so."
Alamance County foresaw problems like these. That's why the chief district judge won't issue a cell phone ban until they get storage lockers first.
Sharing this story with family and friends so they don't forget about the ban if they have to go to court!
Guilford County has lockers for banned items like knives. But they're full almost every day and can't hold phones too. So they're ordering 72 more lockers for electronics. Buy why'd it take seven weeks?Jeff Fowler, Guilford Court Security, said, "Before we went out and spent about $9,000 in this case, we wanted to know how many people will use them."
The new lockers get here in two weeks. But there's not enough room for them in the lobby. So they'll be wheeled out every morning. Each locker will cost a quarter. Which means it will take 36-thousand uses before the lockers pay for themselves.
We checked with other courthouses in our area. Rockingham county also ban cell phones. And they do not provide lockers. And Randolph County bans cell phones and they do have lockers also for a quarter.