Fulton County Courthouse gun policy for police officers under review

Under the threat of being arrested, police officers are not allowed to be armed once they enter the Fulton County Courthouse.

The admonition bothers officers who are in uniform, and very visible when they go into the downtown complex to conduct business. 

A recent exchange between courthouse security and a veteran Atlanta Police Department officer prompted a closer look at the policy. 

As that officer was handing over his firearm, he saw a private security officer -- his weapon on his hip -- waved on through the checkpoint. That armored truck guard was there to collect courthouse money. 

The seasoned Atlanta police officer was incensed. He could not understand the different treatments and took out his phone to record what just occurred. 

Sheriff Patrick Labat acknowledged his court security permits the financial security guards to keep their weapons. But the sheriff said a deputy acts as an escort.

The APD officer who followed the private security all around the building told FOX 5 there was no such escort on that day. 

Regardless of the invite for private security, the gun policy has been a sore point for outside law enforcement for years. 

Police never want to be without their weapons when they are in the public, especially in a courthouse. 

Ash Joshi, a former Fulton County prosecutor, said he understands completely. 

"Emotions run high inside a courthouse," said Joshi. "Families can come out of a courtroom upset, and vent that anger on the first officer they see." 

Labat, who just took over, said he will review what happens and take a comprehensive look at the gun policy.

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