Lockhaven — As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the armed guards sitting at the entrance to Lockhaven City Hall were not deployed.
That’s what Mayor Gregory Wilson said after the issue was taken up at the city council meeting on Monday.
Alderman Douglas Byerley demanded it be put on the agenda after being asked multiple questions about the security guard.
Byerley said business owners in the city questioned why security guards were still in place after pandemic restrictions were eased. cost to the city. If there are other cost-effective ways to monitor building entrances.
Security guards hired through local company VetForce Security were deployed in 2019 as a security measure, Wilson said.
Wilson pointed out that the city council makes the rules, but the city administration is expected to enforce these rules.
“We are responsible for turning off people’s water for non-payment of bills. When they don’t pay their parking ticket, we start their car. If they do, we will take them to district court.” Wilson said. “This is part of what we pay government officials to do, and sometimes these actions anger people and threaten violence against them.”
According to Wilson, in 2019, threats of physical violence against city employees were becoming an issue.
“I had to take these threats seriously because other Pennsylvania municipalities were hoping to make more security decisions in the next few years.” He said.
Wilson referred to a 2013 shooting at City Hall in Ross Township that killed three people and injured three others. In 2018, he was involved in a shooting at a city hall in Masontown, Pennsylvania, in which four people were injured. In 2018, a part-time zoning officer was shot dead at City Hall in Paradise Township, Pennsylvania.
With this in mind, Wilson worked with then-police chief Christine Smith to “It’s the most cost-effective way to provide safety for people doing the jobs you demand.”
The cost of a metal detector similar to Piper’s building is too high, Wilson said. Installing bulletproof glass in the front door and using a call-in system is also costly, he said.
With talks about the future of City Hall beginning at the time, these installations seemed likely to be silent.
“Bulletproof windows can be installed, but it seems pointless to do so without knowing what the future renovation plans for this facility are, which are unknown in 2019.” Wilson said.
The city hired VetForce Security for about $180 a day, and the total annual cost was estimated at about $46,800.
Byerly, who said he was neither for nor against using security, was happy to hear clarification on the matter.
“$46,800 is a pretty rough estimate.” He said. He asked if other options might be considered.
Using armed guards is not a bad thing, according to Chief Matthew Ricardo.
He pointed out that these forms of protection are necessary in the times and times in which society lives.
“The security guards we have are always doing something. He said.
Rickard admitted his division was just down the hall from the entrance, but said seconds could make a difference in dangerous situations.
“I think that without security, you are taking a tremendous risk.” He said.
Other members of the council voiced their opinions on the use of security guards inside the building.
“City management has taken a well-thought-out and rational approach to this issue.” Alderman Richard Morris said.
Alderman Jeff Brinker said security guards are the best solution at this time.
“I think it’s best to maintain the status quo for now.” He said. Brinker said if Congress considers refurbishment or even decides to move to another location, it could consider options such as bulletproof glass and buzz-in-he options.
Alderman Barbara Massolti said she was glad the talks had taken place.
“I think this conversation is important. It’s good to have a review and a reminder for those at home.” she said.
Alderman Steve Stevenson noted that he had also been questioned about the armed guard at the front door, and thanked Byerley for bringing it to Parliament.
“We believe it is important to protect our employees.” He said.
All members of parliament attended Monday’s meeting in the parliamentary chamber, which was streamed live via the city’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
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