DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After Dallas Police Headquarters was shot up during an attack nearly three and a half years ago, the city made security improvements there and at its police stations.
Now, the city is taking a look at some of its other high-profile buildings and will conduct security assessments at City Hall and the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library.
Philip Kingston, Vice-Chair of the Dallas City Council’s Public Safety Committee says the idea came after the city hardened its police facilities. “We thought why not look at the other city employees, non-uniform city employees.”
Dallas City Marshal Gary Lindsey says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will help the city conduct the assessments later next month.
“They have a security instrument they bring in and do assessments on the building to see how secure and then what areas are weak,” said Lindsey. “Then, they give us access to a dashboard that allows us to look at similar facilities across the country and how they handle certain areas of security.”
Homeland Security will train city staff to conduct security assessments at its other buildings.
In addition, the city will buy a device to screen packages, which Lindsey says will be an improvement over the way it’s being done now. “The mail itself is screened manually. This will be a lot more efficient by using a screening device rather than doing it by hand.”
The feds will also help the city develop safety plans for any incidents that take place at its offices. “With a bomb threat, or an active shooter, or a weather emergency, the people in those buildings will know how to act appropriately.”
As part of the plan, officials will hire a consultant to help develop a city-wide security standard and a plan for security staffing.
The assessments of City Hall and the Central Library are due in February.
The city council budgeted $1 million for the project and Councilman Kingston says any recommendations will be strongly considered. “Security improvements that are demonstrated by date to be necessary are stuff we would allocate money for. We want our employees to be safe.”