LAKELAND, Fla. — A security audit revealed Lakeland’s City Hall was wide open and waiting for disaster.
The audit, conducted in the summer of 2016, showed city officials how easily accessible employees and their offices really were.
The results called for an overhaul, which would eventually cost $50,000 to come up to compliance with the security measures.
Security doors, cameras and permanent closings of doors were installed over the past one and a half years since the audit was completed.
The city is also going one step further in keeping its employees safe, by keeping track of who comes and goes.
“They will now need to check in at the security desk on the first floor to be escorted to another space,” Kevin Cook, the Communications Director for the city said. These are measures that they’ve thought out.
The city wanted to become a secure site, but also still be friendly to the public.
“We want an open, transparent government, certainly don’t want to prohibit anyone from going to a public meeting,” Cook added.
Anyone coming and going to a public meeting or hearing will not be subject to I.D. check and escorting, as it would take too much time and possibly prohibit some residents from attending the meetings.
The $50,000 price tag has some residents upset, considering Lakeland is considered an overall safe city.
“That’s ridiculous, because it’s downtown and it’s the safest part of the city,” Megan Clarrey said. She thinks city officials are just looking for ways to spend tax-payer dollars.
For those who have been here a long time, they agree with the new measures.
“I’ve been here since 1985 so I feel safe. It will keep the illegals and the bad people out of there so it does make it safer,” Dolores Allgood said.
Although the audit was complete more than a year ago, Cook says given the recent workplace and school shooting in Florida, the city is happy to have better security in place.
“We want to put measures in place that will prohibit that kind of behavior and certainly, unfortunately, if something does happen, protect those employees within our confines,” he said.
The measures will be officially in place by April 30, 2018.