The Salina City County Building Authority met Tuesday. The Board ended up taking no formal action on securing the building but planned to make such a decision at its April meeting.
Court Administrator Todd Heitschmidt estimated that it may cost the Building Authority $150,000 to $200,000 per year to have three deputies secure one entrance at the City County Building.
City Manager Jason Gage said the City is also looking at the need to secure four fire stations, a water works building, a sanitation plant, and various public works buildings. He felt that the City might be forced to have to allow open carry in all of its facilities. As additional concerns, the City County building hosts many evening meetings that might require the payment of overtime to the deputies.
Discussions turned to the possibility of workplace violence. City Commissioner Melissa Rose Hodges said that in 2013, there were 403 homicides at the workplace. The study she quoted didn’t identify how many of these homicides could be attributed to guns being allowed in the workplace. She asked that employees be surveyed on their preferences.
Other options being considered include installing panic buttons on every desk; currently, there are panic buttons in every office. Kevin Ellis suggested that if a particular office wanted increased security, like the TAG office, they could change their entrance and set up a “bank teller” like window and add bullet proof glass.
County Commissioner Robert Vidricksen asked for additional information on what other County buildings are doing statewide.
The final decision will be made by the Building Authority Board, which is composed of two members from the City Commission, three members from the County Commission, a “third floor” representative and a “member at large”.