Scottsdale proposing security upgrades - East Valley Tribune: News

Scottsdale proposing security upgrades

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Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 11:24 pm | Updated: 5:53 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Scottsdale is proposing sweeping security upgrades to City Hall and several of its high-profile municipal buildings in the wake of last month's mail-bomb explosion that injured three employees.

Officials have designed a range of security enhancements that would restrict access to worker offices and nonpublic areas using measures such as guard stations, electronic gates and barriers.

The security package would increase the use of video surveillance cameras and install X-ray equipment at the central mailroom. One proposal also would require people to pass through a metal detector at City Hall and would add 11 security-guard positions throughout the city.

"This is going to be a change. I think it's an unfortunate reflection on the world that we live in, and how it has come home to Scottsdale," said City Manager Jan Dolan. "But we want to be sure we still are welcoming, and the public has good access to the affairs of the public."

The improvements would cost between $721,000 and $892,000. Annual operating costs would run between $383,000 and $483,000.

Staff members originally planned to announce a scaled-down version of the security plan late next month, but the package bomb that ripped through a Scottsdale office forced more stringent measures.

The Feb. 26 bombing also put the security enhancements on the fast track. The improvements will go to an April 5 City Council vote, three weeks ahead of the original schedule.

"It definitely is time to take some of these steps," said Mayor Mary Manross.

Among the more noticeable changes would be guard stations at the entrances of City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.; One Civic Center, 7447 E. Indian School Road; Human Resources, 7575 E. Main St.; and the North Corporation Yard, 9191 E. San Salvador Drive.

Visitors to those buildings would be required to sign in at a desk attended by two security guards and be cleared before they can enter the buildings. Electronic gates would also be installed throughout those buildings.

Since the explosion, the city has increased security at municipal buildings and placed bomb-sniffing dogs in the central mail room and the warehouse at the North Corporation Yard. X-ray machines would eventually replace the dogs.

City Hall could have a metal detector to screen for weapons and security doors would be built across the now-open communication and legal offices on the building's north side.

The Human Resources building, where the mail bomb exploded in the hands of Cultural Diversity director Don Logan, would have a barrier wall in front of it. The south end of the Scottsdale Center for the Arts building also would have barrier stanchions.

"The reason it seems like pretty sweeping changes is because we're doing it all at once," said Marc Eisen, Scottsdale's homeland security director. "Most of the communities have pretty much been doing this all along, and we have not."

Mesa has a metal detector at its City Council meetings. Visitors also are required to sign in with security guards at Mesa City Hall.

Scottsdale Councilman Wayne Ecton said he favors most of the upgrades, but is unsure whether he could support a metal detector at City Hall.

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