State courts face security cuts

Posted Feb. 15, 2009, at 11:44 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s budget crisis is forcing cuts in security at the state’s courts, a trend that’s causing concern among court leaders and legislators.

The judiciary had planned to hire 10 additional security officers last year, but the move was scrapped as the state moved further into the red. The situation has since gotten worse because of a freeze on filling the positions of court officers who have retired or left for other reasons.

The officers, known formally as marshals, screen for weapons and provide other security duties at courts in 10 Maine counties. In the other six counties, the state contracts with sheriffs’ departments for security details.

The judicial branch is authorized to have 63 marshals, but as of last week only 46 were employed.

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