Tighter City Hall Security Starts April 30

city hall visitor badgeUPDATE: If you’re going to Lakeland City Hall to meet with an individual, plan to arrive a few minutes early. New security measures that take effect April 30 will require visitors to sign in, receive a visitor pass and wait for an escort for individual meetings. No check-in or escort will be required to attend public meetings.

People going to the city permit/business license center will need to sign in and get a color-coded lanyard, but they will not need an escort, under new security procedures announced online Tuesday.

The initial announcement of the new policies said that visitors to public meetings would need to check in at the security station, but City Manager Tony Delgado said that information was incorrect and will be corrected.

The access restrictions are part of new security measures recommended by the city Safety Committee, which includes representatives of the Lakeland Police Department and Facilities Maintenance, Delgado said.

“Additionally, their team suggested and has administered security camera locations within City Hall and the new directional signage along with the check-in and badging procedures,” Delgado said in an email.

No specific incident led to the increased security, but angry confrontations have made some of the city’s clerical staff feel threatened, he said.

Delgado said the check-in procedure for visitors at City Hall’s first-floor reception desk will be similar to the ones used at public schools:

  • The visitor submits a photo ID
  • The ID is scanned and returned.
  • A photograph is taken
  • A photo badge is printed.
  • The visitor places the badge on his or her clothing.

On subsequent visits, there’s no need to take a new photo; you show your ID and a badge is printed, Delgado said.

Cost for the equipment, new access doors and other building modifications needed to implement the new security measures came in at $50,000 to $65,000, according to Alan Lee, the city’s security and safety systems supervisor.

For now, no additional security personnel are being hired to staff the City Hall lobby, Delgado said. Lee added that traffic flow and security needs will be evaluated to see if more personnel are needed in the future.