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Central Court Changes

Blair County court officials announced Monday that additional security measures will be in place at the Central Court building.

Starting Wednesday, people coming into the Altoona Central Court building for preliminary hearings will be searched, and magnetically wanded upon entry.

Any weapons or contraband found during searches will be seized or destroyed, and the person with them subject to arrest.

Anyone who has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon will be able to store their firearm in a secured locker until they leave.

This decision comes after the district attorney and the family of Blair County Corrections Officer Rhonda Russell spoke out about the lack of security protocols there after Russell was shot to death in November by friendly fire during a scuffle with an inmate inside the building.

Court officials also ask the public to leave any large purses, backpacks or other large personal items at home or in their car, unless absolutely necessary to bring them.

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