Thursday, 13 June 2024 13:05

New Security Protocols for City Council Meetings

SARATOGA SPRINGS — This month, the city implemented new procedures designed to enhance security throughout City Hall. 

Beginning with the City Council meeting on June 4, members of the public were subject to search and wanding prior to entering meetings, and a metal detection system sited on the building’s first floor, just outside council meeting chambers. 

The change follows a Department of Public Safety review of security options and the recommendation of the city’s Insurance Carrier, NYMIR, to install a metal detection system prior to entering the City Council Meetings. At this time, the procedures will only be in place at City Council meetings.

Some of the specifics: all members of the public entering the City Council meetings will be subject to search and wanding, with all bags, packages, containers and property items subject to search. If any prohibited items are found on a person or in their belongings, they will not be allowed entry, according to the city. 

Among prohibited items: firearms, alcohol, noxious materials (including Pepper Spray and Mace), edged weapons (these could be utility, pocket or Swiss army knives, and scissors), “nuisance” devices (such as bullhorns and whistles), stun guns, and a variety of other items deemed to be a security risk or disruptive to governmental activities, at the discretion of Saratoga Springs Police Department. Note, there will be no storage facilities at City Hall, such as lockers, to store any personal belongings.

The council is in general agreement that the first-level council chambers, with a maximum allowable capacity of 49, offers a superior locale for meetings, compared to the much larger capacity music hall on the third floor where occasional meetings have been staged in the past. 

“We’re going to always try to meet in this room,” city Mayor John Safford said. 

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