As a nation, we’ve been horrified by the acts of violence that have made the headlines recently. Campus massacres. Violence in our streets and homes. Shootings at public meetings.
Such violence undermines our sense of security and exposes our vulnerability. For those of us in small communities, those acts are ones from which we assumed we were insulated.
But were not. As the recent incidents show, disturbed individuals can strike anywhere.
Thats why officials at the Fayette County Courthouse and the Vandalia City Hall are wise to take measures to improve security at those facilities. And Vandalia school officials are in the early stages of making security improvements to the districts buildings.
At the courthouse, all visitors now will be required to go through a security check, including a metal detector, as they enter the building. This same security procedure will be in place during county board meetings.
At city hall, Police Chief Larry Eason will continue to serve as sergeant-at-arms during city council meetings. As the council begins holding its meetings at the new city hall, Eason will sit at a desk near the building entrance and will be responsible for screening persons in attendance. The entrance to the building will be locked once the council meeting is under way, again with Eason being responsible for deciding who will be admitted.
At the schools, district officials are planning to construct security vestibules, improve exterior and interior door locks, and install security alarms.
As Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman said last week, its unfortunate that we have to take measures such as these. But we must be smart.
The balance we need to strike is to preserve citizens access to their government representatives while reducing the chances of a violent incident happening here.
If, through these measures, we can prevent an incident from happening in our community, then the inconvenience will have been worth it.