Nearly 83,000 People Visit the Culpeper County Courthouse Every Year – and We Screen Them All
One of the statutory duties of the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office is to provide security at the Culpeper County Courthouse. Our court security deputies staff the metal detector and x-ray machine at the main entrance, provide courtroom security, respond to alarms, conduct perimeter patrols, move prisoners between the Culpeper County Jail and the courthouse holding cells, and transport prisoners between other jails and our courthouse when needed for a particular case. Depending on the court’s schedule or other special circumstances, our deputies may engage in other security activities as well.
In 2017, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office screened 82,987 visitors to our courthouse. These screenings help ensure a safe environment for parties, members of the public, and courthouse employees. Among other things, deputies are checking that items prohibited by the Code of Virginia are not brought into the courthouse. Anyone attempting to bring banned items into the courthouse will be refused entry. Depending on the item in question, other actions may also be taken.
The Sheriff’s Office K-9 units also conduct random courthouse sweeps. This is another step in helping to ensure the safety and security of all concerned. During these sweeps our K-9 officers are looking for drugs, explosives, weapons, and other contraband forbidden inside the courthouse. Every member of the public entering the courthouse is potentially subject to contact with one of our K-9s.
The safety and security of the courthouse employees, members of the public, and prisoners entering the courthouse is the primary concern of our court security deputies. We thank you for your understanding as we work to ensure that everyone visiting our courthouse can do so safely.
Prohibited items include but are not limited to the following:
TOOLS (HAMMERS, NAILS, ETC.)
CELL PHONES: Anyone needing a cell phone for a case may ask the Clerk of Court for a letter authorizing that the cell phone be allowed into the courtroom.
A weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon’s true nature.
§ 18.2-283.1. Carrying weapon into courthouse.
It is unlawful for any person to possess in or transport into any courthouse in this Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind; (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile, or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon; or (iii) other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in § 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of § 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Subsection A of § 18.2-308: any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; (ii) any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; (iii) any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; (iv) any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart.... For the purpose of this section, a weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature.
§ 18.2-308.1: “Stun weapon” means any device that emits a momentary or pulsed output, which is electrical, audible, optical or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.