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City Council OKs Security Measures : Government: A metal detector will be installed at public entrance to meeting chambers.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday authorized the installation of a metal detector at the public entrance to its ornate meeting chambers as the latest security step at City Hall.

But the council has still not decided the more delicate issue of when the detection equipment will actually be used to screen visitors. “The council has not yet decided when it ought to be fired up,” said John Cotti, assistant general manager for security at the Department of General Services.

The device should be used when controversial issues or visiting dignitaries are before the council and on an intermittent basis at other times, Cotti said. “Should it be once a week, once a month? That’s for the council to decide,” he said.

The security steps were recommended after the bombing in April of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Cotti said the measures are unrelated to the July 19 shooting deaths of four Los Angeles city employees, allegedly by a disgruntled co-worker. Willie Woods, 42, an electronics technician, has been charged in that case.

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The council earlier approved the purchase of four stand-up metal detectors and eight hand-held detectors but it was only Tuesday that the council agreed to plug one of them in at the entrance to the chambers where the lawmakers meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

In a previous action earlier this year, after the Oklahoma City bombing, the council ordered all city workers to wear their identification badges in the building.

Also approved Tuesday was a plan to immediately make the east side of Main Street--adjacent to City Hall--more secure by making the area a no-parking, tow-away zone and relocating U.S. Postal Service mailboxes now situated there. Although authority to take such steps was only granted Tuesday, Cotti said these measures in fact have already been implemented. “We didn’t want to wait and have the building blown up,” Cotti said.


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