City hires new security guard for City Hall

Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 11:50 p.m.
A new, unarmed security guard started patrolling the City Hall lobby this week in the latest attempt by officials to improve safety at the building.
"There have been a few incidents here at City Hall that we felt warranted more security," said Gainesville Communications and Marketing Manager Bob Woods, who is overseeing the program. Among those incidents have been residents who have made threatening statements to commissioners or other employees and crimes in and around City Hall.
The city opted to hire a private security company to guard City Hall rather than put a Gainesville Police Department officer in the building in order to keep costs down, Woods said. The private security guard, from the same firm hired to guard Gainesville Regional Utilities' downtown headquarters, will cost about $30,000 a year, he said.
The guard is just the latest security-related change officials have made at City Hall. The changes, which followed a rash of crimes including the theft of Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan's wallet from her office, included using more lights and moving concrete planters that would prevent a car from driving up City Hall's steps.
City officials plan to make changes to the City Hall lobby to make it more secure, though there are no final plans for the project, Woods said.
Officials will review the impact of the guard in six months to determine whether the service is still needed.
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