Commissioners Beef Up Security at Meetings

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Dothan city leaders are getting serious about security. They passed a new ordinance today designed to keep residents and themselves safe.

A new metal detector will soon be in place at Dothan city commission meetings.

“There was just a general feeling that we needed to increase the security,”

City Manager Mike West says the move is a recommendation from the Dothan Police Department.

“Personally, I hate to see that we've come to this point in life but unfortunately, so many places have had incidences where people have gone on rampages,”

Tuesday morning, commissioners voted on another security measure.

“Today, the city commission passed a city ordinance that basically banned firearms from the commission chambers,”

In the past, if you had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, you could legally attend commission meetings with a firearm; but not anymore.

“We're trying to add another sense of security,” added West.

Not long ago, there would be just one uniformed officer at the meetings. But today, you'll find three to four officers in attendance.

“They are there through the whole meeting to basically watch what's going on and observe, not only the meeting, but people who are participating,” said Corporal Rachel David with the Dothan Police Department.

Tightening security is all in an effort to prevent a tragedy similar to what happened in Missouri in 2008. That's when a gunman walked into a city council meeting and opened fire, killing five people.

“Unfortunately, today there are people capable of a lot of things,” said West.

While Dothan has never seen an incident like that…

“We've had incidences where people have come in and their motives have been questioned,” said West.

They're not willing to take any chances.

“Again, we just want to take a proactive step before there's any type of issue,” said Cpl. David.

City leaders hope to have the new metal detector up and running for the July 27th commission meeting.

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