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Security officer keeps building safe

| Tuesday, June 17, 2003

EDITOR'S NOTE: Periodically, the Daily courier will feature people from the community. Today, we take a look at a security officer at the Fayette County Courthouse. Next time, our readers will meet the common Joe or Jane.

UNIONTOWN -- No matter what reason or business one would have by entering the Fayette County Courthouse, the first person they'll see won't be the judge, but Courthouse Security Officer Mark Snyder.

Married with two children and a 1992 graduate of Laurel Highlands High School, Snyder has worked in the courthouse since October of 2002.

The job, says Snyder, of Masontown, is to screen anybody entering the courthouse and make sure that those people aren't carrying any weapons or any inappropriate items.

To aid him in the detection of anything that could harm another, Snyder first instructs a person entering the courthouse to place items like purses, briefcases or bags through an X-ray machine which is set on top of a conveyer belt like the kind used for airport security.

While the bagged items are passed through the X-ray's conveyer belt, Snyder watches the monitors on top of the machine, which show the contents inside any package or container.

He also has to have people walk through a metal detector and keep an eye on the surveillance monitor above the metal detector.

Snyder says the most difficult thing about his job are the long days. Either sitting or standing by the equipment, he always has to stay concentrated and focused on his surroundings.

If somebody does bring a non-permitted weapon into the courthouse, Snyder contact's the sheriff's department, of which he is employed.

Although Snyder finds it a bit unnerving that some of the people who enter the courthouse are criminals, he has never had a problem, thus far, with anyone trying to sneak a weapon into the building.

Mostly, says Snyder, it's guys who always carry pocket knives with them or women that have mace attached to their keychain and forget they have such items.

Snyder places those and other inappropriate belongings in lockers behind the security desk.

An unofficial duty performed by Snyder is directing lost people to the correct location within the courthouse.

Although the security officer's job is an important one, Snyder sees it as a stepping stone for him to gain experience and learn more about law enforcement. He wants to land a job at a prison or achieve the position of deputy sheriff someday.

Additional Information:

Personal Profile

Name: Mark Snyder

Home: Masontown

Job: Courthouse security officer

Marital status: Married, two children

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