Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Screenings make sense

City Hall: Metal detectors

It is an unfortunate reality of the times that people now have to pass through metal detectors to enter Cincinnati City Hall. We must list this new security measure under the category of "necessary evil."

No one has been threatened with a gun at City Hall, but City Manager Valerie Lemmie is right to be proactive. News reports from elsewhere mandate a heightened sense of caution at all public buildings. In Florida recently, airport workers discovered a handgun concealed inside a Teddy bear carried by a 9-year-old child.

In July, New York City Councilman James Davis was shot and killed in that city's council chambers by a political opponent who walked around a metal detector as a guest of the councilman.

Installing the detectors in Cincinnati was the suggestion of Vice Mayor Alicia Reese, who was in New York when Davis was killed.

"We can't be prepared for terrorists if we don't have simple security measures in place right here at our own City Hall," Reece told the Enquirer.

Monday was the first day that those who travel to City Hall to do business were required to pass through the detectors. The machines will cost $100,000, plus $490 daily for four additional security guards.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks it makes sense that areas where citizens and public officials gather for business be protected as much as possible. Metal detectors are used in the federal and county courthouses as well as the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family services in downtown Cincinnati.

City Hall must maintain its role as a place that welcomes citizens for business. To do that, it must place the highest regard on safety.

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