Officers busy with confiscations

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 24, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Guns, knives, razors, bullets, cameras, recorders, scissors, tear gas and a few &uot;unmentionables&uot; are among the items confiscated from people who have gone through the front doors of the Mills E. Godwin Courts Building within the past five years.

Deputy Lavern Lowther says it is not uncommon to find people bringing strange, unexpected and oftentimes illegal items into the courts building.

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&uot;Mostly, we see a lot of knives, but we do see drugs and other substances as the people entering the building come in, forgetting they have the items on them,&uot; said Lowther. &uot;We have made several arrests after people have emptied their pockets and out rolled some type of illegal substance.

&uot;The strangest thing I’ve seen lately is a knife inside a tube like it was a lipstick. We confiscated that item.&uot;

Deputy James Moodie, a retired Suffolk police officer, has also confiscated a lot while running the scanning devices.

Over the years, Moodie recalls having taken a ring box full of marijuana (no ring!), a flashlight that had been made into a cocaine pipe, and all manner of weapons, including handguns and knives.

&uot;Deputy Richard Law arrested one man who forgot he had a whole bag of marijuana in his pocket,&uot; said Moodie. &uot;Another fellow came in one day and when he saw the scanners, he turned around and went out the revolving door so fast it didn’t even get a chance to stop spinning.

&uot;We get all kinds in here and we have to constantly be on guard. Most people are cooperative and understand when we do ask them to empty their pockets.

&uot;Our job is to make sure this building is secure and that’s what we’re going to do.&uot;

So what happens if you happen to be carrying something that’s illegal – not just prohibited – into the courthouse? The same thing that would happen if any other member of the law enforcement community stopped you: You could be arrested.

From Jan 1 to Aug. 15, 2003, 191 people were arrested in the courts building after they failed to pass inspection at the scanning devices, Isaacs said.