Metal detectors now in use at Dublin court, council meetings
Be prepared to empty your pockets for Dublin City Council.
The public must now pass through a magnetometer, or metal detector, and bag check to get into Dublin City Council meetings and Mayor's Court.
Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg said the metal detectors were recommended in last year's security audit and requested by council.
The new units were introduced at the March 19 Mayor's Court and March 25 City Council meetings.
"We have them before council and mayor's court right now, but it may be expanded in the future," von Eckartsberg said.
Dublin City Council meetings have been staffed with a Dublin police officer since last year.
"What government building doesn't have this now," von Eckartsberg said.
The new metal detectors scan the public for weapons. Pepper spray and pocket knives are included in the list of banned items and should be left at home or in the car, city officials said.
The metal detectors were purchased by the city with funds from the capital improvement budget.
According to von Eckartsberg, $20,000 was budgeted for the purchase of the portable equipment, but only $12,400 was spent for both detectors and related equipment.
The 2013 budget also included $14,000 for a one-year contract with Contemporary Services Corp. to staff the metal detectors before council meetings and mayor's court as well as a few community events.
"It's the same company we use for the Dublin Irish Festival and Fourth of July," von Eckartsberg said.
Dublin's police chief doesn't anticipate using the entire $14,000 budgeted for Contemporary Services , however, because the metal detectors were not in service in January or February.
The new metal detectors will not always be in place at the municipal building and justice center.
The units are portable and will be removed after each meeting, von Eckartsberg said.