Guilford County government has gotten some nice brand new doors on the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro – and, while those three shiny new front doors look inviting, they most certainly are not.
The county has decided that the front doors to the building that’s the heart of Guilford County government will remain locked at all times.
The move, of course, has been taken as a security measure. Locking the doors will prevent anyone from entering the building and going upstairs without passing by the security guard who now remains permanently stationed in the middle of the first-floor hallway.
Guilford County Security Director Jeff Fowler said this week that increased need for security in recent years has been needed given the tragedies that have happened nationally. Twenty years ago, there were no guards on the first-floor of the building and anyone who wanted to could come in through any of the doors. However, in recent years the building has been renovated and it now has more modern security cameras, a constant presence by armed and unarmed security, and a full-time guard who sits at the entrance and often quizzes those who pass by about their business.
Eventually, Guilford County plans to permanently lock the door that opens up into the shared parking lot with the county-owned BB&T Building where the Register of Deeds office is housed and then all traffic into the Old Guilford County Court House will be directed to the large back doors that face the governmental plaza. That would mean that everyone entering the building would have to pass by security before getting access to any county office. Currently, the Guilford County Board of Elections Office is the only county department with an office on the first floor of the building.
One county employee who works on the second floor of the building – where the county manager’s office and many other county operations are located – said that there had been a surprising number of scary incidents in recent years that put county workers at risk. For instance, she said, one irate citizen came in with a complaint and pulled out a knife. Fortunately, security was able to handle that situation. At other times, homeless people have been found sleeping in the building or using the bathrooms as semi-permanent dwellings.