Security improved with new Dillon County Judicial Center -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Security improved with new Dillon County Judicial Center

DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Dillon County has a new judicial center on Old Latta Highway that was built in hopes of making the judicial process more efficient, effective and safer for people in the county.

"This is a real example of what we can do when people work together in a good way and I think one of the finest facilities anywhere I've ever been," Dillon County Sheriff Major Hulon said.

The Solicitor's Office has been working in the $5 million building for several months. The Sheriff's Office and the Magistrate's Office are moving in over the next few weeks. Bringing those offices to one location will increase communication between the employees and efficiency for the community, said Shipp Daniel, assistant solicitor for Dillon County.

In addition to those offices, the building has two courtrooms.

Daniel said the Solicitor's Office is looking forward to using some of the updated technology for trials including a new sound system and monitors to display photographs and videos to jurors.

"That will greatly assist both the state and the defense to present our cases to a jury and we couldn't really outfit our old courthouse and our old courtroom with the technology that we have here," Daniel said.

Trials will also be safer in the new judicial center. There are separate meeting rooms for the defense, prosecution and witnesses to spend time away from one another.

There is a single entrance to the building equipped with security unlike the old county courthouse, which has multiple entrances.

"Any civilian will go through a scanner, metal detector, one way in and then they can go to whatever area of the building, whoever they need to see," Sheriff Hulon said.

The inmates will have their own entrance into the building through a secured pathway that connects the judicial center with the detention center.

"There will be no more transporting which is going to be a blessing, a good deal," Sheriff Hulon said. "A lot of safety issues taken care of there."

Florence County Council is looking at plans to fund a new justice center because of safety concerns in the current one.

"This is one of the worst courtrooms in the state," Florence County Sheriff's Office Special Operations Captain John Crouse said. "Probably one of the worst court facilities, probably ranked pretty high in the country."

Florence County Council passed the second reading for the ordinance to fund the project Thursday. There will be a third reading and public comment at 9 a.m. May 21.

The Dillon County Judicial Center is not yet hosting court cases. Daniel said more parking is needed first, which Dillon County Administrator Clay Young said should be complete by the end of June.

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