We were told by Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana that having to chop $4.3 million from his department would mean plenty of layoffs and cutbacks. The "bag ban" that begins Monday, October 23rd at the Winnebago County Courthouse is an example.

The bag ban is exactly what it says it is. No bags of any sort will be allowed into the courthouse--with the possible exceptions being bags that hold medical supplies or diaper bags, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Due to budget cuts, the Sheriff's Department has had to lay off part-time security officers and replace them with full-time patrol officers, which they say necessitates the bag ban.

In addition to the bag ban, the following items remain prohibited from being brought into the courthouse:

  • Crochet/knitting needles
  • Fingernail files
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Flashlights over 3 inches
  • Forks
  • Handcuff keys
  • Knives
  • Laser pointers
  • Letter openers
  • Locks
  • Mace/pepper spray
  • Metal combs
  • Nails
  • Pliers
  • Pointed can openers
  • Razors
  • Scissors
  • Screws
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wire cutters
  • Wrenches
  • Other items that Winnebago County Court House security feels will compromise the security or integrity of the courthouse.