Courthouse contraband: What metal detectors, searches uncover
In 2012, marshals confiscated 6,940 knives and 1,046 other banned items from visitors or workers at the courthouse
By Bethany Barnes
Las Vegas Sun
CLARK COUNTY, Nev. — On the first floor of the Clark County Regional Justice Center, down a winding hallway and behind a locked door — to which only three people have a key — are a bucket of knives, freezer bags stuffed with permanent markers and a pile of jewelry.
It’s a room of the forbidden and the forgotten.
Much of the bounty — considered either dangerous or otherwise prohibited — was confiscated from people who entered the building and passed through a metal detector on their way to the Justice Center’s courtrooms. The rest was turned in to security in the hopes of reacquainting the rightful owner with the found merchandise.
In 2012, marshals confiscated 6,940 knives and 1,046 other banned items from visitors or workers at the courthouse. This year, marshals have collected 3,273 knives and 341 other items, according to records last updated in August. That's a small percentage when compared with the number of visitors to the building; 1,084,921 people visited the Regional Justice Center in 2012 and 818,566 had been through the detectors through August this year.
Most of the contraband winds up in the closet-like room that’s also part lost and found.
The room’s gray plastic bins are labeled: scissors, utility tools, pepper spray, knives and miscellaneous weapons. Among the potentially perilous are also the precious: wallets, watches and a depressing number of engagement rings.
Once a month, the knives and other potential weapons are destroyed. Firearms are turned over to Metro for storage as evidence. Jewelry is saved in case someone comes to claim it.