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Security Changes Could Be Coming To Cincy City Hall

City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black is telling a council committee he is considering increasing security at city hall.  

He said that includes again placing metal detectors at the entrances to the building.  Black said he understands there is a balance.

“We want to make certain that our public buildings are as public as we can make them,” Black said.  “But at the same time we have a responsibility to make certain that they are safe for the people who are coming into them to conduct business or to participate in various meetings as it relates to the democratic process.”

Visitors could be escorted to locations and additional security doors could be installed on all levels.  

Council Member Kevin Flynn said metal detectors are a way of life at other federal and county buildings.

“So I'm not sure that it's as much of an earth-shaking change as it is perhaps a question of perception,” Flynn said.  “And that somehow we're locking down city hall and we don't want people here.  And that's not the case.”

Council Member Yvette Simpson said she has some concerns with the manager's proposal.

“I think locking this building down on every single floor with doors, for me that just feels like too much; it just feels layered,” Simpson said.

Simpson said once a person goes through a metal detector, he or she should be able to roam the building.  

Meanwhile, council member Christopher Smitherman says he supports the manager's plan and says the measures do not go far enough.  

Cincinnati City hall had metal detectors at the entrances from late 2003 until early 2006.  

They were installed after then Vice Mayor Alicia Reece was in New York city when a council member there was killed in a shooting incident at city hall.  

Former Mayor Mark Mallory had them removed soon after he took office to make city hall more open and accessible.  Since then visitors have had to sign in when entering the building and are given visitor's badges.  

After an incident last year where a man drove his truck up to the steps of city hall, people who want to meet with the mayor and city manager must sign in and then wait to be escorted to those offices.  Crews also built walls to prevent the public from being able to directly access those offices at city hall.  

The latest security measures could be in place in about a month.