NYC City Hall Shooting Raises Questions in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/24/03

NYC City Hall Shooting Raises Questions in Lubbock

Security is being tightened at city hall in New York City after Wednesday's deadly shooting in council chambers. Now, city governments across the country must consider putting more safeguards in place at municipal buildings. Lubbock is again talking about the possibility of cinching up security at City Hall.

Chaos reigned immediately following the New York City Council shooting. 31-year-old Othniel Askew shot and killed 41-year-old Councilman James Davis before being shot and killed himself by a NYC police officer.

It's a scene Lubbock Councilman Victor Hernandez is convinced could happen anywhere, including Lubbock, Texas. "It's not unheard of." Councilman Hernandez may have a point. Especially considering the kind of bitter exchanges and fiery debates that do occur at city hall. Lubbock City Hall certainly isn't immune to disorderly conduct.

After September 11th, there was a big push to beef up security at city hall. The plan even called for metal detectors and x-ray machines at the entrance. Those plans were tabled. But after what happened earlier this week, security is an issue again.

"I've always been a proponent of enhanced security measures, without inhibiting the rights of citizens to have access. And I think you can reach that balance," says Councilman Hernandez.

But that philosophy isn't necessarily shared by the rest of the council, who now sit behind a bulletproof bench. Many are comfortable with the current accessibility of city hall. As of right now, there are no plans to change.

Lubbock Facilities Manager Harlin Stauffer says if security is changed, the system must be applicable to everyone, with no exceptions. In New York, a routine courtesy had allowed the mayor and council members to go around the metal detectors. Stauffer says if Lubbock implements metal detectors, no one will be allowed to bypass the system.

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