The chair of the Council Services Committee, the one that met behind closed doors and voted 8-4 to pursue new security arrangements at City Hall, thinks another cheaper solution will be brought in to watch over city council meetings.
Coun. Bryan Anderson confirmed that what they may wind up doing is having two sheriffs sit more in the centre of the room, facing the audience. “That’s the kind of thing that might end up being the end result of a discussion in public.”
Council postponed dealing with recommendations to install a pony wall in the council chambers, and have spectators at council meetings have to go through metal detectors and be subject to bag searches.
Parts of the previously secret report were released Tuesday. In it, the only incident discussed was non-violent involving taxi drivers. It also quotes 11 of the 64 staff and councillors answering at one point or another, that they felt unsafe.
“I am not feeling any current need for me to support metal detection and bag searches,” Anderson said. He was one of eight to vote in favour when a closed door meeting was held, but said he knew this report would be dealt with again in public. He didn’t see anything wrong with the first discussion being in private because it talked about the cost of installing the security measures and didn’t want any bids to be swayed by a list price.
Anderson admitted to reporters the culture has changed since 9-11 in 2001. “From Columbine on, those kinds of potentially copy cat circumstances, the public awareness of those kinds of things have increased so the fact that we haven’t had anything happen here, to what extent do we need to plan for the 1 in 100 year flood?”
“Hell, after 911 I was miffed at having to do it at airports. But if they were going to recommend it, I wasn’t feeling strong enough about taking that off the table because I knew it was going to be discussed at another point.”
Coun. Scott McKeen made a motion to have public input on security at City Hall.