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Our Opinion: Sensible security at City Hall

News Tribune editorial

A goal of increased security is heightened crime prevention.

Jefferson City government moves nearer that goal this week when it improves security measures at both municipal court and City Council proceedings.

Council members earlier this year budgeted money for security measures, which include:

• Acquiring a metal detector through a trade with Cole County government for parking.

• Approving $21,000 for a private security company to operate a metal detector on court dates and another $3,600 to operate it at council meetings.

• Adding $6,500 to the police overtime budget for officers to staff specified court proceedings.

In an ideal world, security measures would not be necessary in public facilities — schools, government buildings or courthouses.

The grim reality is all have been venues of violence in the recent past.

In reaction, area schools have added security measures and resource officers. Visitors to the Cole County Courthouse must pass through a metal detector.

Similar measures soon will be in place for certain proceedings at City Hall.

The purpose of these measures in not to increase inconvenience for the public.

The focus is to prevent violence, which historically has killed or injured bystanders as well as public officials.

The purpose was described precisely by City Attorney Drew Hilpert, who said: “The ultimate goal is deterrence.”

Security comes with a cost, but it is a reasonable price to deter mayhem at city proceedings.

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