Security heightened as Michael Dunn verdict nears

Author: Adrienne Moore, Weekend anchor, reporter, amoore@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 12 2014 04:04:00 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 12 2014 06:40:00 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

As the jury in the Michael Dunn trial began its deliberations, security is paramount in and around the Duval County Courthouse.

Prior to the jury selection last week, a court order outlined the general security measures that would be in place at the Duval County Courthouse for during this high-profile trial that some have compared to last year's trial of George Zimmerman. It mentions K-9 teams, the bomb squad and specialized units both in and outside the courthouse.

Channel 4's Crime and Safety Analyst Ken Jefferson says while some of that security will be outside of the public's view, with interested parties demonstrating outside the Courthouse and many other passionate observers of the trial, it is also important to keep law enforcement visible at all times.

"In the event that there's an unpopular verdict, you can be rest assured that officers -- uniformed and non-uniform -- will be on alert, will be bracing for the actions of the crowd and be prepared to handle it," Jefferson said.

Jefferson believes the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will be going over its coordinated response plan with a fine-tooth comb as the jury enters the first day of deliberations.

"Visibility, extra manpower and command presence are the three objectives you want to have," Jefferson said. "The command presence is the uniformed officers strategically standing outside."

In the courtroom itself, there are numerous officers. At one point Wednesday, there were eight officers standing post.  Dozens of others are spread throughout the Courthouse.

"This is the largest case Jacksonville has had," Jefferson said. "And we're in a brand-new building, so there could be some things that need to be tweaked, some things that they'll learn so that they'll be better prepared for this the next time. But from my observation - from what I've seen -- they seem to have all of their bases covered."