WSR 16-08-066
[March 30, 2016]
NO. 25700-A-1141
The Trial Court Advisory Board, having recommended the Proposed New Rule GR 36Trial Court Security, and the Court having approved the proposed amendments for publication;
Now, therefore, it is hereby
(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendments as shown below are to be expeditiously published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association, and Administrative Office of the Court's websites expeditiously.
(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(e), is published solely for the information of the Bench, Bar and other interested parties.
(c) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than June 30, 2016. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.
DATED at Olympia, Washington this 30th day of March, 2016.
For the Court
Madsen, C. J.
Suggested New General Rule
Submitted by the Trial Court Security Committee
A. Name of Proponent
Trial Court Security Committee, primary
Superior Court Judges' Association (SCJA); the District and Municipal Court Judges' Association (DMCJA); and Trial Court Advocacy Board, secondary
B. Spokesperson Judge David Steiner, DMCJA President
C. Purpose
The Trial Court Security Committee was created by the Boards of the Superior Court Judges' Association and the District and Municipal Court Judges' Association. The proposed court rule was approved by both Boards as well as the Trial Court Advocacy Board representing leadership from trial court associations, judges and administrators.
The proposed rule will accomplish two goals:
(1) Require trial courts to submit online incident reports to a statewide repository, and
(2) Encourage trial courts to create local security committees and security plans, and coordinate a local court response to security concerns
Under this rule, the only requirement is that trial courts submit online security incident reports. The remaining sections of the rule are advisory and recommend implementation of security standards as defined by the Trial Court Security Committee and approved by the Trial Court Advocacy Board. If a court cannot meet the security standards as outlined, then the security plan will indicate why the court is unable to meet these standards.
The purpose of the proposed rule, which is equal parts directive and discretionary, is to demonstrate that trial courts have organized themselves within resources that are available. This process will also provide minimum security standards as a baseline which courts can use to gauge their level of preparedness to the standards. Only then will the trial courts, through ongoing organizational development and gathering of data (incident reports), have the foundation to develop a state budget request that responds to the direct needs of trial courts.
Until the committee was formed in 2014, the trial courts had no reliable or organized statewide response to security incidents, current standards, or recommendations. This committee relied on the BJA security standards (2009) and feedback from trial court judge and administrator associations and national standards in creating the proposed rule. The proposed rule falls within the authority of the trial courts, is manageable, requires no costs incurred to the courts, and contributes to a better understanding of court security needs.
D. Hearing A hearing is not requested.
E. Expedited Consideration
Expedited consideration is not requested.
F. Supporting Material
Attached is the directive and purpose of the Trial Court Security Committee as drafted by the SCJA and DMCJA Boards.
Trial Court Security
(a) Purpose. A safe courthouse environment is fundamental to the administration of justice. Employees, case participants, and members of the public should expect safe and secure courthouses. This rule is intended to encourage incident reporting and well-coordinated efforts to provide basic security and safety measures in Washington courts.
(b) Definition. "Incident" is defined as a threat to or assault against the court community, including court personnel, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, jurors or others using the courthouse. It also includes any event or threatening situation that disrupts the court or compromises the safety of the court community.
(c) Incident Reports.
(1) Reporting Method.
(i) The court should make a record of each incident as soon as practicable, but no later than two days after the incident. The report shall be kept on file by the local court administrator.
(ii) The court shall report all incidents electronically to the Administrative Office of the Courts on the AOC Threat/Incident Report Form within one week of the incident.
(d) Court Security Committee.
(1) Role. Each trial court should form a Court Security Committee to coordinate the adoption of court security policies and make recommendations regarding security protocols, policies, and procedures necessary to protect the public, court personnel and users, and court facilities. The Court Security Committee should adopt a Court Security Plan and thereafter revise the Plan as may be necessary.
(2) Committee Composition. The Presiding Judge for each court should convene a Court Security Committee meeting and invite representatives from the following:
(i) Judiciary;
(ii) Court Clerical Staff;
(iii) Prosecuting Authority's Office;
(iv) Public Defender's Office;
(v) Executive Branch;
(vi) Law Enforcement;
(vii) Facilities/Maintenance Department;
(viii) Any other agency of government housed in the same building;
(ix) Any other person the presiding judge deems appropriate;
(e) Court Security Plan. Each Court Security Committee should create a Court Security Plan for each courthouse location. If a Court Security Plan is adopted, the Court Administrator shall keep the Plan on file and accessible to the court community. The Court Security Plan should be in writing and should address:
(1) Routine security operations, including security screening for persons entering the court facility, secure storage of weapons not permitted in the courthouse, parking, landscaping, interior and exterior lighting, interior and exterior doors, intrusion and detection alarms, window security, protocol for building access for first responders, and provision of building floor plans for first responders;
(2) Written or oral threats or declarations of intent to inflict pain or injury upon anyone in the court community;
(3) Physical layout of court facility and escape routes;
(4) Threats – in court or by other means (telephone, email, website, etc.);
(5) Bomb threat;
(6) Hostage situation;
(7) Weapons in the court facility;
(8) Active shooter;
(9) Escaped prisoner;
(10) High risk trial plan;
(11) Routine security operations;
(12) Threat and security incident response techniques in and around the court facility which may include how to diffuse situations and remain calm during an incident;
(13) Personal safety techniques in and around the court facility;
(14) Irate and abusive individuals.
(f) Security Drills. Each court may hold security drills as determined by the Court Security Committee, as deemed necessary by the Presiding Judge in consultation with other authorities in the courthouse. Drills should include all court personnel, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and other regular court users.
Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.