The first couple of men who walked through the new courthouse scanner Monday morning removed their belts so they wouldn’t trip the metal alarm.

After that, men were waved through the detection arch with their belts on, but then scanned with a hand-held wand.

Signs outside the building say people with belts will have to remove them, but after a public outcry by Bulletin readers, the requirement was softened on the first day.

Lockboxes are also available near the entrance for pocketknives, which are forbidden inside the building, so people carrying them won’t have to take them back to their car or throw them away.

The process went relatively smoothly Monday, the first day of the heightened security. There were no lines at the south entrance – the only one that is open.

Some people tried to leave the building by the east door, which triggered an alarm. Commissioner Joe Hewgley said a sign advising people that the exit is closed might be needed.

Also, some residents found it harder to find a parking space than normal.

There are 10 parking stalls available along the south side of the building, nearest the entrance. Three of them are reserved for the handicapped.

A new sidewalk along the south side of the building shortens the walk for people who park elsewhere and walk around the building.

County Commissioner Bill Henry was one of the first officials to pass through the scanner around 7:30 a.m.

Although many people think the system won’t work, Henry insists it will.

“It is a process. We will make it work,” he said. “It’s not something we wanted to have to do.”