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updated: 1/22/2013 6:15 PM

Elgin council to vote on city hall security upgrades

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The Elgin City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday night on whether to spend almost $375,000 to make security improvements to the council chambers along with renovations to city hall.

Recommendations include a bulletproof dais, panic buttons for council members, and security cameras throughout the chambers, entry stairwells and the city hall lobby.

A metal detector would also be placed at the entrance to city hall, but likely used only when court is in session or during city council meetings, city official said.

The proposal was not prompted by any specific incident, only by the desire to make sure all appropriate security measures are in place at city hall, Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal said. In his 17 years working for the city, there were only a couple of incidents when people were escorted out of council meetings, Kozal said.

Recent mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., as well as workplace shootings across the country, prompted Elgin police to assess security at city hall, Elgin Police Cmdr. Bill Wolf said.

A metal detector at the entrance to the council chambers is only used when court is in session, and the auxiliary officer on duty during council meetings is unarmed, Wolf said.

Renovations would also include seating for the two additional council members that will be elected in April, combining community development offices into one area and adding protective barriers outside city hall, such as large concrete planters.

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