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Government Center opens doors for community
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The Government Center is open and officially ready for business.

Citizens entering the new building may be surprised to see the security system put in place, but according to Major Brandon Branson, this is par for the course.

Its important that the whole building stay safe, he said, explaining that the 2005 incident in Fulton County has changed the rules for court security plans across the country.

In March 2005, Brian Nichols was on trial in Fulton County when he disarmed a deputy and shot several people, including Judge Rowland Barnes.

We understand people are not used to having to go through this, Branson said. Visitors to the Government Center must empty their pockets and walk through a scanning device prior to entering the building.

We have to treat the whole building as a courthouse, he said.

Items not allowed in the Government Center include guns or any replica guns, stun guns, tasers, pocket knives, razors, box cutters, scissors, pepper sprays, chemical mace, glass bottles, flammable liquids, needles, any explosive material or any item which could potentially be used as a weapon.

If a person inadvertently brings one of the above items into the Government Center, an officer will hold the item until the person exits the building.

Law enforcement will be at the building during normal business hours of 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and will also work commission meetings and planning and development meetings.

According to Branson, officers have been training for up to one year to be prepared for the new building.