Unwitting Court Visitors Getting Nabbed

CLEVELAND (AP) - It's almost like surrendering to police without being asked.

On average, three visitors weekly to the building housing Cleveland's police department and courts have been arrested since tighter security was imposed last year.

Those arrested at the security checkpoint in the past year had items including weapons, marijuana and cocaine. All had approached the checkpoint voluntarily to enter the Justice Center.

A month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, deputies were assigned to the Justice Center entrances to beef up security.

Visitors must pass through metal detectors.

"I used to go out on the streets a lot to hunt them down. Now, they're coming to me," said Deputy Sgt. Ryan Seifert.

Because of the number of weapons and arrests, Seifert said, more deputies have been assigned to Justice Center security than originally intended.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)