Newark Municipal Building increases security
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
The Newark Municipal Building is undergoing renovations to increase the building’s security, City Manager Carol Houck said.
Mayor Vance A. Funk III said the idea to enhance the security came about five years ago when several incidents occurred in municipal buildings across the country. However, the project was dropped after the City Council realized it did not have enough funds to pay for it.
“This year, after the incident in Wilmington, the issue was brought to our attention as we also have a courthouse in the building and people fear that something could go wrong,” Funk said.
Houck said a welcome desk will be added at the entrance of the Newark Municipal Building where visitors will be required to sign in and be directed to where they need to go from there. All the building’s employees have to wear an identification badge, Funk said. Houck also said there will also be an increase in security of the operations that collect money.
Community Affairs officer Dana Johnston said the Newark Police Department is located on one side of the Newark Municipal Building and is disconnected from other city services, so the welcome desk will be a way to know who is coming in and out of the building and their reason for being in the building.
“At this point, there is no security from the police in that respect,” Johnston said.
Funk said the welcome desk will be made as simple and convenient as possible for the public, and he does not believe it will be unusual to go through this process from a public standpoint.
“The person at the security booth will be trained to make sure security is maintained and to assist people,” Funk said.
The planned renovations have not been finalized and Houck said they are still waiting on additional information regarding the budget in order to determine what changes will be made.
An increase in the security of the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington is currently in progress, according to Delaware Capitol Police spokesperson Lt. Marshall Martine, though he said he could not disclose any more information regarding the situation.
“The U.S. Marshall Office came down and we are waiting for their report,” Martine said.
A minor incident occurred at the Newark Municipal Building within the last three months, Funk said, during which someone was running and shouting through the building, but did not create any major problems. Funk said he believes the person was deranged.