No Need To Bring Back CCB Metal Detectors: County Council President

By Jeff Neumeyer

May 17, 2011 Updated May 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The president of Allen County Council is not comfortable with the idea of re-installing metal detectors in the City-County Building.

That despite threats made to members of a board conducting a public hearing last Friday in the government building.

Magnetometers were in place at the City-County Building several years ago.

They were purchased and installed after “9-11”, but were yanked out of the building in 2003, in large part, because of the cost to staff and operate the machines.

Last Friday, the Allen County Election Board tossed City Council At-Large candidate Tommy Schrader off the November ballot over residency concerns.

Schrader is accused of making threats to the board after the decision.

Currently, visitors to the City-County Building can come and go without being checked for firearms or other weapons.

Security staff patrols the building, but they are not armed.

There have been no formal requests to upgrade security in the government building, but Tommy Schrader's comments caused some tense moments for election board members.

Zachary Klutz/(R) Allen Co. Election Board: " I'm sitting at the table and I hear him say, I know where you live and how much were you paid off? Those are disconcerting and a little frightening."

Darren Vogt/Allen County Council President: " We have to take all threats seriously, but to go and spend extra money because of one person's threats, probably is not in the best interest of the taxpayer."

When the metal detectors were in place before, items were routinely confiscated.

But Vogt argues rarely were guns seized.

However, it’s not clear if the presence of the machines discouraged building visitors from trying to bring firearms inside, knowing they wouldn't get past security.

City and county police will be moving into the C.C.B. by the end of the year, a development that could re-kindle debate over the need to have metal detectors present at the government center.

Metal detectors will not be used in the new Citizen's Square building, run by the city.

But a spokesperson for Mayor Tom Henry says the complex will have armed security guards, additional surveillance cameras, and more restricted areas, where you need to produce a badge to gain access.

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