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Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Published: 1/24/2014

Security tightened at Safety Building

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

New security measures put in place at the downtown Safety Building will now limit the public’s access to several floors of the building.

The changes — which, for now, amount to locking down two elevators on the first floor and two new security cameras — were implemented Thursday after months of discussion, said police Sgt. Joe Heffernan.

“Obviously police stations need to be secured places,” he said. “A lot of things happen in police stations so it has to be a secured area. We’ve been wanting to do this for awhile.”

Before Thursday, anyone could go into the Safety Building, 525 N. Erie St., and access the basement, first, second, and third floors.

The basement houses, among other things, the property room. The second floor is home to crimes-against-persons detectives, forensics, and crime-scene investigators. Access to the police field operations area on the second floor had already been restricted.

Access on the third floor was previously limited to a waiting area. On the third floor are the property-crimes section, internal affairs, administrative offices, and other police units such as planning and fiscal services.

To go anywhere other than the first floor now, it is necessary to be escorted by an officer. Sergeant Heffernan said a “streamlined” process for media to access police reports would soon be established.

Anyone who needs to speak with a detective will likely be met on the first floor by the investigator and taken to an interview room that was previously a mostly unused Blade office.

City spokesman Lisa Ward said Mayor D. Michael Collins was not aware of the changes before they were implemented but told her he supports them.

“He didn’t think civilians should be wandering around the second and third floors without an escort,” said Ms. Ward, who spoke by phone to the mayor, who is in Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Additional security measures could be implemented as funding is available, Sergeant Heffernan said. He did not know how much money was spent on the two security cameras that were installed in the elevators.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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