Visitors to Warren County Administrative Offices during Monday night’s full County Commission meeting were greeted with a hand-held metal detector administered by a sheriff’s deputy.
According to County Executive Herschel Wells, consideration has been given to heightened security for some time.
“This is under consideration right now,” said Wells, when asked by people who were being scanned as they entered the building. “We have several things under consideration. We’ve talked about security up here for a while. It’s going to be talked about more in depth now. We thought we would try this and see how it worked out.”
Wells says consideration is also being given to buying and installing a full-sized metal detector for individuals to walk through like the one at the courthouse and changing out the locks on the administrative building for a keyless entry and card reader system for county commissioners and building employees to use in an effort to manage access to the building.
Management wasn’t a problem Monday night as two sheriff’s deputies used hand-held metal detectors on all visitors and checked pockets, purses and cases. Other deputies manned the two main doors to the courtroom.
Feedback from county commissioners and the public about the experience was favorable, according to Wells.
“I didn’t have one person complain. Everyone was very appreciative and said thank you for the increased security,” said Wells.
The boost in security came after Chattanooga shooter Mohammad Abdulazeez killed four Marines and a sailor at a military recruiting center and a Navy operations support center. Abdulazeez died in a gunfight with law enforcement.
“It’s a different world in which we live,” said Wells. “We know we have to do something to increase security. We are going to take everything into consideration when we discuss what way we want to go.”
Wells declined to comment on speculation the increased security was a result of continuing turmoil between members of the Warren County Commission.