Fresno City Hall implements new security screening system

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The stepped-up security measures at City Hall include a metal detector and an x-ray screening machine. Wands are also being used to scan visitors.

People coming in to pay bills or take care of other business may have to empty their pockets to make sure they don't have any prohibited items like weapons, scissors, large glass bottles or items which can explode.

"If they're bringing in bags, briefcases, backpacks or purses they'll have to push them through a metal detector as well," says Mark Standriff, a city spokesperson. "But for the most part, it's pretty much business as usual. It will take an extra 30-60 seconds to get inside the building."

Armed security and two Fresno Police officers are now in place. So are new security cameras.

Standriff says the move mirrors what is seen at other city halls, county, state and federal buildings around the U.S.

"People understand that we're in a new world right now and there are potential dangers everywhere," Standriff said.

People used to walking up to the second-floor entrance at City Hall, which leads to the city council chambers, will now find it closed. It will only be used as an exit.

Councilmember Miguel Arias welcomes the safety changes.

"Our dais is already bullet-proof and we already have a full-time police officer in the chambers during council meetings," Arias said. "We've never really had an incident where folks got out of hand. It will be more of a reassurance for the employees."

It cost the city $1.2 Million to unveil the new security system. The city will pay American Guard Services $1.2 million a year to keep the system going.
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