AUBURN — Visitors to the Androscoggin County Courthouse must empty their pockets at the front door now that security measures have been stepped up at the building.

Screenings had been intermittent at the building, which houses Androscoggin County Superior courtrooms, clerks’ offices, county offices, probate court and the registry of deeds.

Earlier this summer, however, the presence of marshals and electronic screening equipment became a daily fixture at the building’s main entrance, facing Turner Street. The building’s back entrance on Court Street remains locked unless an additional marshal is available to cover that door.

Michael Cote, director of judicial marshals and emergency services of the Maine Judicial Branch, said he had moved staff around to carry out more regular screenings at the courthouse.

He said his department lacks the staff to have marshals screening at the entrances to every district and superior court building in the state.

“Not yet,” he said.


He said his budget does not have money for full staffing at every courthouse. Plus, he said, he is facing a shortage of applicants needed to staff the marshal positions, a similar problem facing other law enforcement agencies.

“We’re always looking for qualified people to come to work for us,” he said.

Cote said he contracts with Manpower Maine, which provides workers on a daily basis depending on need. Those workers must be licensed in law enforcement, having completed training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

He said he could not predict whether the local courthouse entrance would continue to be staffed daily, but said “ideally” it would.

“I think all courts need to be screened whenever we can,” he said.

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