Courthouse security runs a tight ship
She didn’t look like a pistol-packin’ momma, but a few weeks ago, a white-haired woman in her late 70s walked through the front door of Nevada County’s courthouse with a .25-caliber handgun buried at the bottom of her purse.
“Cocked, locked and loaded. She had no idea that was in there,” said Ron Bruni, an armed security guard who watches the courthouse’s front door.
Bruni and his partner, Lt. Rick Lalumondier, unloaded the gun and later returned it to the woman as she left.
All in a day’s work for Bruni. For a year, he’s stood sentry at the courthouse door, monitoring the metal detector and X-ray machine and seeing everybody who comes in and out.
“It’s a good job. It really is,” Bruni said. “We get a lot of people saying, ‘We’re glad you’re here.’ And then you get your 2 percent of people who don’t think it’s necessary.”
The latter can include folks who come through the courthouse door carrying a blade.
Bruni and Lalumondier give them a choice: They can walk back to their car and put the weapon away (which most do) or surrender it.
The guards have a bucket of blades and other weapons that people surrendered, ranging from cheap-o Swiss Army knife knockoffs to box cutters to pepper spray canisters. The weapons get destroyed by the Sheriff’s Office.
Bruni and Lalumondier work for Burrows Security, a private Grass Valley company under contract with the county.
Bruni has 20 years’ experience as a security guard, including eight years in South Sacramento, where he worked at Franklin Villas and Cedar Ridge, two low-income housing complexes.
“Those two places are what you hear (about) in the news all the time” due to shootings and other crime, he said.
Still, plenty of good people lived in both places, Bruni said.
He said the best part of not working there anymore is avoiding the 160-mile round-trip commute.
“It’s nice not having to do that anymore, I’ll tell you,” he said.
Bruni, a Bay Area native, moved to Chicago Park in 1982 to live next door to his father.
Sheriff Department Sgt. Jeff Powell praised the job Bruni and Lalumondier do.
“They do a good job here,” said. “They have experience. They know how to talk to people and deal with them.”
The courthouse installed security equipment two years ago and initially had deputies guard the door, but hired Burrows Security a year ago to free up deputies for other work, Powell said.
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