Order in the Court

(WSVN) - Could Broward County be putting people in danger in order to save money? 7’s Brandon Beyer takes a look at who is in charge of making sure there is order in the court.

Bailiff: “All Rise.”

Most court proceedings are pretty calm.

But every now and then things get out of control.

And when courtrooms turn to chaos, it’s up to the bailiffs to handle anything that comes their way…

Broward County Bailiff: “Finger printing, DNA, taking people into custody, which we refer to as street arrests, breaking up fights.”

This bailiff asked us to conceal his identity. He is speaking out about safety concerns at the Broward County Courthouse.

Bailiff: “We are dealing with anywhere from one to 30 inmates on a daily basis.”

Broward bailiffs are civilian employees, meaning they are not armed, do not carry any weapons and do not have the authority to make arrests.

This bailiff says what they do on a daily basis puts them and the public at risk…

Broward County Bailiff: “I want them to see us fingerprinting guys that are charged with murder, a guy charged with raping a kid, doing a DNA swab on those charged with strong armed robbery, and I want them to decide — are these guys worth high risk?

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel is currently negotiating to get more sworn deputies for the courthouse. Deputies who would be armed. He turned down our request to talk about the bailiffs — but BSO’s union president told us there are reasons to be concerned.

BSO Union President Sgt. Anthony Marciano: “They’re amazing, because they have to do what they have to do without any weapons. They just do it through verbal communication.”

Sgt. Marciano says if a courtroom turns violent, bailiffs don’t have the special training needed to handle the situation.

BSO Union President Sgt. Anthony Marciano: “That’s the function of either a certified detention deputy or road deputy.”

But few Broward County courtrooms actually have specially trained deputies. One is assigned if there is a violent offender in the courtroom.
Bailiffs in other Florida counties only serve the judge. They have no contact with inmates or the public.

BSO Union President Sgt. Anthony Marciano: “We just want people to know, hey, we have been literally sacrificing ourselves to run an efficient safe courtroom, and we’ve done that.”

The union called a meeting with bailiffs next month to talk about the negotiations between the sheriff and commissioners.

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