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April 14, 2004
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Devices Help Boost Courthouse Security

By Todd Moschella, The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK)

When Sgt. W.R. Grimsley stumbled into a violent crime in progress at the Oklahoma County Courthouse, he was equipped to handle the situation thanks to a purchase recently made with the help of a federal grant.

Grimsley was waiting for an elevator about 10 a.m. Friday. When the doors slid open, he saw two men viciously attacking a third. One man had the victim in a choke hold while the other was kicking and punching, Grimsley said.

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Grimsley attempted to intervene, but he was outnumbered.

Fortunately, help was less than a minute away when he activated the Simplex security device now standard issue for all deputies, judges, bailiffs and clerks working at the courthouse.

The accused attackers, Benito Jerome Bowie Jr., 24, and Michael Dwayne Maytubby, 25, were booked into the Oklahoma County jail on an assault and battery complaint Friday night. They were each being held Monday night in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Capt. Kelly Marshall, of the sheriff''s office — the entity in charge of courthouse security — said the incident marked the third time the device has been used since its introduction a month ago.

"This type of system is becoming more and more popular," she said. "The sheriff and some deputies saw this at some of the trade shows and saw a need for it."

The Simplex security system, involving a network of pendant- or pager-style alarm devices, was purchased with federal grant money.

The cost to the county was about $6,000, or 10 percent of the $60,000 price tag, Marshall said.

When the device is activated, a dispatcher can locate the signal anywhere in the courthouse and send deputies to respond.

The new system eases some concerns about the level of security at the courthouse, which has 26 deputies on staff, most of whom escort inmates to and from court.

"When you know backup is less than a minute or so away, that''s a lot more comforting," Marshall said.

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