It is not easy dealing with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people on a daily basis, especially when most are defendants in criminal cases or disappointed about serving for jury duty. However, no matter what kind of day she is having, Civilian Courthouse Security Officer Kishna Rodgers continually puts a smile on her face and is pleasant to each and every visitor to the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse.
According to Sergeant Ronda Montgomery, “What you don't see behind that smile is Officer Rodgers' keen eye for even the smallest of objects being brought into the courthouse that could be used as weapons. On any given day, she meticulously looks at hundreds of x-rays of belongings finding anything from the smallest of razor blades in what are referred to as, "splitters”, to "kitty" key chains intended to stab someone in the eyes, and sometimes loaded guns.”
Rodgers does not discriminate. From the young person that flaunts gang activity to the older frail grandparent, each are required to follow the same rules, and prohibited items are denied access.
“Although not armed, she is an enforcer and does not fear telling someone they cannot bring an item into the courthouse,” Montgomery said.
Recently, a female came into the building and placed her bag on the x-ray machine conveyor belt. As the bag went through, Officer Rodgers noticed several prohibited items. The first and most obvious item was a large railroad spike. She notified the female the item was prohibited as she began noticing several more dangerous items on the x-ray. After the female's purse was dumped out in its entirety, Rodgers located the large railroad spike, a large fence staple, a large nail, knitting needles and a pair of scissors, all of which can be utilized as weapons, Montgomery said.
Rodgers has everyone remove their belts in the event one has a knife tucked inside, takes the time to visually inspect sets of keys for key knives, and takes the time to run purses or bags through the x-ray machine a second time if items blend together such as a large amount of change concealing a knife in the bottom.
Montgomery said, “She is, always looking for ways to improve and displays superior judgement not wavering in ensuring the employees and guests of the building are safe.”
“Since millions of items could be used as weapons,” Montgomery said, “there will never be a way to deny every single one of them. However, by staying steadfast in her expectations, Rodgers consistently exceeded expectations. Not only has she trained countless members of the Sheriff’s Office staff on how to recognize dangerous objects, she is a part-time employee, full-time mother and wife to a husband who travels for months at a time. She seldom takes time off for any reason, and saying this unit counts on her is an understatement.”