New security measures, including metal detectors, are going into effect this week at Buffalo's City Hall.
The first of the changes could already be seen Tuesday, as additional armed guards patrolled outside. Those guards are provided by the private firm G4S. Buffalo Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo, during a news conference in Niagara Square, explained that the additional measures including metal detectors were scheduled to be in place by the end of the week.
"We've been fortunate that we've had a very good track record here of maintaining safety over the course of years and years," Rinaldo said. "There's been a few isolated incidents but nothing that caused a ton of concern in and of themselves."
Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen acknowledged the need to call police to handle a few incidents within City Hall over the years. He introduced a resolution addressing security concerns when he first took office. Pridgen explained while he does not welcome the changes, he has accepted them as necessary in today's social climate.
"I cared, not for myself but for the people who visit and work in City Hall," Pridgen said. "I thought that it was important that this place, which is the seat of government for our city, was properly protected."
Rinaldo pointed out that the public is already accustomed to security checks at other public venues, including sporting events. Pridgen, though not enthusiastic about the new measures, suggested that it's better to act now than react to a tragic incident.
"The sad part would be if we did absolutely nothing and then something happened," he said.
Visitors to City Hall who noticed the changes had mixed feelings about the stronger security measures.
“I’m a veteran. If there are any suspicions about safety, then I’m not offended by it, because I think precaution is better than something happening and then an aftermath effort. It’s better to take preventive measures than for something to happen and then take measures afterward,” said Tretobia Powers of Buffalo, who was inquiring about a job for her son.
“There’s too much security. They stand everywhere. There’s too much. They could dial it down a little bit. An X-ray detector? I don’t like that. I’m okay with the metal detector, but not the x-ray detector,” opined Rayjeanna Burtis of Lackawanna.
"I feel safe. I think it’s good, due to the fact that it is a government facility. We need all the protection we can get. You’ve got the courthouse, you’ve got the federal building, so why not establish the same system for City Hall?,” said Ron Willis of Buffalo.