County judges and sheriff’s department partner to keep you safe in the courtroom

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 9:35 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Dozens of Jefferson County judges met for their annual retreat focused on ethics, wellness, and safety.

Judge Elisabeth French says they deal with secondhand trauma from cases they see in their courtroom. She hopes Friday’s retreat allowed her fellow judges to take a breath and learn some safety tips.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies trained judges on different real-life scenarios they may deal with in their courtrooms. Judge French says it was essential to partner with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department to help them better understand and know how to respond quickly in some scary situations.

“The gun simulator training, which is part of our ongoing efforts to promote judicial safety,” says Judge French. “The judges are concerned about safety all over the country. We hear stories about things that happen in Montgomery in the courthouse in Atlanta at the courthouse, and so safety is something we’ve taken very seriously. We’ve taken a lot of measures in the courthouse, from additional cameras to additional bailiffs.”

She says although it is an honor to serve, it comes with a lot of stress and trauma, which is why they focused on mental health and wellness.

“There’s a heavy weight on the judges all over the state all over the country, and it’s just important who’s dealing in the professional world,” adds Judge French. “We all experience our own sets of trauma. It’s important to stay healthy and have some sort of tool to deal with that.”

Judge French says this is their second year hosting the retreat, and they were excited to see 24 out of about 37 show up.

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.