Two Million Dollar Grant Program to Improve Courthouse Security Announced

August 22, 2017

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) launched a one-time court security grant program effective August 18, 2017. The AOC received $2 million in one-time funds appropriated by the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Bill Haslam to improve court security across Tennessee. The past year has yielded at least two serious security breaches in Lewis and Coffee Counties, one resulting in serious injuries to a deputy.

The purpose of this grant is to improve courtroom security and to provide safe and secure facilities to “conduct the business and duties of the court,” as required by Tennessee Code Annotated §16-2-505(d)(1). A special committee of judges from across the state was appointed to determine the qualifications and criteria for grant awards. Chaired by John S. McLellan III (2nd Judicial District), the other judges are Tammy M. Harrington (5th Judicial District), Amy V. Hollars (13th Judicial District), Donald E. Parish (24th Judicial District), Russell Parkes (22nd Judicial District), and John D. Wootten, Jr. (15th Judicial District).

“Court security and safety are issues the Supreme Court of Tennessee takes very seriously,” Chief Justice Jeff Bivins said. “This past year has yielded at least two serious security breaches that have brought renewed focus on the needs faced by judges, court personnel and the public.”

Preference will be given to counties with courtrooms that do not currently meet the present minimum courtroom security standards as well as counties that have experienced a courtroom security breach during the 12-month period of July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.

“We appreciate the support of the General Assembly and Governor Haslam to help prevent additional violence in our courthouses so that the business of our courts and our citizens can continue safely and efficiently,” added AOC Director Deborah Taylor Tate.

Grant applications will be accepted through October 16, 2017. For more information about the court security grant, please contact Mitch Turner at mitch.turner@tncourts.gov, or visit TNCourts.gov for grant application and information.