LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A judge, the mayor, and some city aldermen are considering beefing up security at La Vergne City Hall.
They say it’s a matter of keeping themselves and citizens safe, but not everyone agrees. Some think it will be a waste of taxpayer’s money.
Some city officials in La Vergne want to prevent what happened at a school board meeting in Florida, where a man pulled out a gun upset that his wife was fired, from happening here.
That’s why La Vergne is now considering putting City Hall on lockdown.
“We just got to make sure we got security in place to take care of it because you know you never know it could turn in a New York minutes, from calm to a situation that has gotten out of hand,” said Mayor Dennis Waldron.
City municipal Judge Ed Hiland told the Board of Mayor and Alderman at a meeting last week he’s complained for years about lack of security at city court and even at city hall.
He said folks have come into the courtroom packing heat.
“We know we’ve caught at least one or two because there was a police officer there and it was on one of our nights when we have contested hearings,” Hiland said. “They saw him with it concealed and were able to take it away from him and he was arrested. We don’t know how many we haven’t caught.”
The city is in the planning, discussion stage of possibly adding a metal detector as you enter city hall and hiring armed security guards for the board room that doubles as a court room.
“You can look at it two different ways. We can wait until something happen and then act, or we can be proactive and look at it before it happens,” Waldron told News 2.
But not everyone agrees. Former city aldermen candidate Matt Church is one of them.
“As a citizen, I feel it’s a waste of taxpayer’s money with our police department directly behind city hall, a 100 feet away,” Church told News 2 by phone. “With the police department being shorthanded out in the field we have the last several city meetings, council meetings I’ve attended myself there has been five to eight police officers at the meeting.”
Church was kicked out of a board meeting last month after speaking out about a bid for environmental hazardous materials services his company should have been awarded since two other companies didn’t meet the qualifications.
“There was no aggression or no threats made or anything like that. This was strictly an individual speaking upon a subject that pertained to the business,” Church said.
Some citizens are thinking the city will hire private security guards.
“I think if the mayor will concentrate providing the police force with the property manpower and the proper tools to keep our citizens safe, that goes hand in hand in keeping city hall safe,” Church said.
The mayor News 2 he has and will continue to put the fire and police department first before spending any money on adding security to city hall.
News 2 did some checking around Rutherford County and there is no metal detector to enter the Murfreesboro City Hall or traffic court, however there is a police officer present during court.
Citizens have access to the Rutherford County Historic Courthouse where the mayor’s office is located and Board of Commissioners meet. However, they have to go through security and metal detector to enter the Judicial Building where court is held.
Folks in Smyrna have to pass through a metal detective for General Sessions or city court, but citizens have access at Town Hall where the mayor’s office and Aldermen meetings take place.