PDT Staff Writer
A Scioto County woman has been charged with attempting to convey a semi-automatic handgun into a Portsmouth Municipal Courtroom.
Police say Deborah Fouch, 56, of Minford, faces the charge after entering the Portsmouth Municipal Building around 8:58 a.m. Wednesday. Captain Lynn Brewer said Fouch came to the building for an appearance in court and was carrying a loaded firearm in her purse. Brewer said court security officers intercepted her after she scanned her purse through the metal detectors on her way to a court room. The purse was reportedly found to contain a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Portsmouth Police Chief Rob Ware said the decision by the city to place a security system at the entrance of the city building was instrumental in stopping a possible dangerous situation.
“Absolutely. It was instrumental,” Ware said.
He said the system worked flawlessly.
“When she passed the scanner, the alarm triggered on it and they stopped them there,” Ware said.
Ware said Fouch had been issued a Concealed Carry permit, but that the permit had expired.
“Even if it had been active, you still can’t carry a weapon into a court room,” Ware said.
Between the months of October of 2011 and July of 2012, 1,203 items were stopped going through security at the Portsmouth City Building.
According to head of security for Portsmouth Municipal Court, Mark Malone, security stopped 1,139 knives, 47 containers of mace, and 17 other items ranging from four guns to eight tasers, two bullets and more. That information brought about a decision by Portsmouth City Council to purchase a new X-Ray unit at a price of $27,000 to replace a unit that has broken and could not be fixed.
Portsmouth Municipal Court Judge Steven Mowery sold Council on replacing the X-Ray unit, telling them, “We now have, during the day in this building, a security system that we incorporated into this building without cost to the city. All of the equipment that was provided was provided by the (Ohio) Supreme Court and by grants with the exception of the personnel.”
Fouch was taken to the Portsmouth Municipal Court Probation Department where she was turned over to Portsmouth Police officers for formal charges to be filed.
Conveyance of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance into a court house is a felony of the fifth degree and is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Fouch is scheduled to be arraigned in Portsmouth Municipal Court this morning.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com