If you thought sneaking your iPhone into a Guilford County courthouse was hard before – well, it’s likely to get even harder starting at the first of the year.

The Guilford County Security Department is upgrading the small parcel X-ray equipment at security checkpoints at the county’s courthouses in Greensboro and High Point.

According to information provided to the Guilford County commissioners by security staff, the current X-ray detection systems used by Guilford County Security in the Greensboro and High Point courthouses were bought between 2008 and 2010 – with an expected life of five to seven years.

According to county security staff, the replacements have been a long time coming.

“These devices were placed on the county’s Major Equipment plan in Fiscal Year 2017-18 with a goal of replacing one machine annually. To date, only one machine in the High Point courthouse was replaced in 2018 and maintenance costs for the remaining devices, in addition to reliability, have been a concern for staff.”

These are the small parcel machines that your bags pass through when you enter the courthouse – unless you have a special ID that lets you enter without going through security.

County security staff has decided that, this time around, it’s wiser to lease the X-ray machines rather than buy them outright as the county has done in the past.  Leasing was identified as the most cost-effective option – and it allows the department to regularly update devices based on their useful life.

Purchase of one X-ray machine would cost roughly $56,000 and require a service contract that would run the county $19,000 a year.  That’s a grand total of $75,000 in the first year.

However, Guilford County government is instead choosing to enter into a five-year lease agreement with Point Security, Inc. for five small parcel X-ray machines to meet the security needs of the Greensboro and High Point Courthouses.

The staff report notes that the agreement includes “equipment leasing, routine maintenance, repairs and training” at a cost of $67,980 a year – which comes to a total of $339,900 over five years.

Funding for the lease was included in the current 2022-2023 fiscal budget and the plan is to lease four small parcel X-ray devices for the Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro and one for the Courthouse in High Point.