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Posted on Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Ann Arbor City Council approves $187K weapons screening contract for Justice Center

By Ryan J. Stanton

The city of Ann Arbor will pay up to $187,000 this year to have the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office provide weapons screening services for the Ann Arbor Justice Center.

The City Council approved the contract Monday night, noting the Sheriff's Office provides a staff of trained court security officers at a cost of $25.25 per hour per officer.

Keith Zeisloft, administrator for Ann Arbor's 15th District Court, said he expects three officers will be assigned per day to the court on staggered schedules.


The Ann Arbor Justice Center, directly next to city hall at the corner of Fifth and Huron, on a recent evening. The security checkpoint is to the right inside. The public art installation is proposed for the corner to the left.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Because it's a per-hour contract, the total daily or weekly number of hours worked may be fine-tuned to match visitor volume and reduced court business hours, Zeisloft said. Funds for the contract are included in the court's approved budget.

The new contract comes as the city continues to debate the location of the security checkpoint inside the Justice Center, which houses both the Ann Arbor Police Department and the 15th District Court, as well as the city's information technology department.

The City Council voted 8-2 in May to approve a $150,000 hanging sculpture that will make its way into the lobby of the Justice Center later this year, but there have been concerns about public accessibility and visibility of the soon-to-be-installed piece.

Currently, visitors must ditch their cellphones in a locker, empty their pockets and go through the security checkpoint just to enter the lobby where the public art installation will hang. City officials are continuing to discuss the location of the security checkpoint.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Jul 11, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

Turn that $187,000/year over to me: the public will get served and protected and they'll also not be subjected to the threat of arrest. Damn what these judges think: it's OUR money being used for this needless "weapons screening" ?BS. It's OUR building, not that of a bunch of elites who think they're one step down from God.

Superior Twp voter

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Anyone need a handgun? Just check the gloveboxes/consoles of vehicles parked within a block of this building.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

and say hi to all the cameras ringing the building while you are at it.

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

$25.25 per hr. I don't think sceeners @ the air ports make that much. Justice Center why not call The Hall Of Justice! NO piece of "art" is worth going through a security checkpoint to see. I'll say again Ann Arbor is 6 square mile surrounded by reality.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.

Surrendering your identification should never be a requisite for experiencing public art.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

Let me get this straight. If I don't give up my cell phone and identify myself I can't go and see art that essentially I contributed to to construct. That's real creative thinking. Total package. Right up there with a non working fountain, overwhelmed by an ugly building where nobody wants to go, within 20ft of the busiest street in town. Now I get it. It's conceptual. Bravo!


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

More to the point, why is the city paying for Sheriff's deputies to do the work when they are laying off police officers?


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

Court Bailiffs

Mr. Ed

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

I don't think they are real deputies.


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Can someone please explain why it is that citizens are required to meet with our "public servants" without our cellphones?


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

they are recording devices in most cases. audio and video often.


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

because they don't want anyone to interrupt their phone calls....


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Public art that is restricted to those people who have to prove they have no malicious intent by going thru a security checkpoint isn't public in the least.


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 7 p.m.

I got an idea....kill two birds with one stone, save $150k, and serveup goes about we take the recent taggers that pleaded guilty paint the sreening apparatus rather than hanging a piece of junk metal or plastic atrocity considered "art" that I have to put my nose up against a window to look least a graffiti covered weapons scanner would be colorful and use up some community service time for a good reason...oh wait, city council does love them some taxpayer money for art...or how much for a weapons seeking trained security dog? This is such a joke, law abiding people should not have to go through this....if someone pulls a gun in the ugly hall, just shoot them...oh wait again...we don't have enough cops....or....when they, those that are so much more culturally and intellectually "better" than us set up the hanging artwork, it could be modified to be triggered like a snare net...oh the mind is working I gots me some good idee-ears


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

I don't suppose that this continuing operating expense was ever taken into account when the costs of the newest and ugliest public building in Michigan was built?

Stuart Brown

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:57 a.m.

The city new about this expense all along when it rammed through the the City Hall expansion, but that would have made the price tag even more outrageously obvious. The city missed an opportunity to work with the county to keep the courts at a county facility where there already is weapons screening going on. Residents get reduced fire protection service and increased fees while the city gets a new city hall and a useless new underground parking deck.


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Weapons screening? What for? Juries are summoned into that building and to be a juror means you cannot be a felon & must meet other criteria showing you are an upstanding citizen. So WHAT is the problem with allowing those serving society at jurors to bring their guns into that building?? Judges?? I don't call those people judges, I call them dolts: because they have no thought for the citizens they're drafting into jury duty and no thought for their safety or lives, either. Hey - genius ex-lawyers turned judicial elite autocrats: all you have to do is to install lockers for keeping the guns honest citizens need to bring with them for self defense. Duh! Hows that for a legal wake up call. What the next judges running for office need to make clear is just who they want to serve and any other method of selecting these free-loading ex-lawyers has got be be reformed. I say: shut off funding for this new luxury motel for legal eagles - until they come up with a more practical and positive way of dealing with the people they're supposed to serve.


Wed, Jul 11, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

Riecebrnr: Oops! I meant that one sentence in my response to read: Acquiring a Michigan CPL means passing a background check, being at least minimally trained, having no history of drug use, domestic violence -or- mental illness. Sorry, I get excited and "repeat myself." ;-) Anyway: I'm done going around begging to be admitted to public buildings MY MONEY helped pay for. Being threatened with arrest for keeping my personal (protected) personal defense weapon when entering those buildings has created a giant "tick-off" and I'm not budging until it's set right. I'm done respecting judges of any kind: until they get back to respecting me and my fellow citizens.


Wed, Jul 11, 2012 : 3:33 a.m.

Ricebrnr, I agree, what you say seems reasonable but there are times when it's better to ask questions about assumed powers and the practical consequences to honest citizens like ourselves. I for one am sick of being "assumed" to be a criminal or a violent person. As you certainly know, acquiring a Michigan CPL means passing a background check, being at least minimally trained, having no history of drug use, domestic violence or drug use. So - what more do they want from us?? Notice too: I'm not advocating the presence of guns in courtrooms. I'd never agree to that. But denying us adequate facilities (which are cheap and found in ALL K-12 schools throughout the country) HARDLY stands as legitimate reason for not doing right by honest, willing citizens. It is the citizens who should be putting their foot down about this and make providing these gun check at the door facilities a prerequisite before handing "the legal profession" any more of our money. No so?


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Not that I agree with the situation, but to be fair there is more in the Justice Center and more visitors than just court related. And on the surface I do agree with having gun lockers but the thought of all that gun handling is also...discomforting.