Alan Sorensen Havre Daily News email@example.com
Havre City Hall security was recently upped a notch when a secure code lock was installed on the east entrance off Sixth Avenue. As of Oct. 1, Mayor Bob Rice said, visitors to city hall will have to enter through the west doors opposite the police department. Anyone wishing to see someone in the rear offices will then be buzzed through by employees of the city treasurer’s office. Visitors will still have direct access to the city council chambers which also serve as the city courtroom. And people wishing to pay fines or to see the judge will be able to go down the corridor adjacent to the council chambers. “I just want to ensure the safety of the ladies up front,” Rice told the city council Monday night. He said a man recently came into city hall and became belligerent with a clerk up front. She was the only person in the treasurer’s office during the lunch hour. The front office is protected by a sliding window and locked door. When the man realized he could get behind the counter through the back door, he left, went Around the corner and re-entered the building through the east entrance. The mayor came out of his office and intercepted the man in the hallway. He said the man continued to act belligerent and threatening. The man eventually left and the mayor resolved then to provide more security. The security lock is similar to those that have been used at the fire and police departments for years. A person can gain entry by punching in the correct numbers in the correct order. The mayor also said city employees are now using identification cards. The employees are encouraged to display their cards to residents when approaching them in their homes or yards. The cards contain the workers’ photographs and names and all pertinent information regarding their jobs. “It’s a project we’ve been working on for two years,” he said. Rice also said the cards are available to city council members. “Any city council members who want one, see the chief of police,” he said. “The cards are also good for government discounts when traveling on city business.” Rice said the city delayed activating the secure lock to let people get used to the idea and that additional precautions are scheduled for the future. “That will give people a chance to get acclimated to the changes, learn the code and carry their ID cards,” he said. “ Probably next year, they will not have (unsecured) access to the judge’s office. We will have a secure system there also. We are working out the details on that becaus it will be a little more complicated.” During the public comment period following the meeting, Havre resident Mike Topolosky asked the mayor if the city has an evacuation plan. He said he was concerned by the slow evacuation of people inside the Kmart building during the bomb threat last week. Rice assured Topolosky that the city has an evacuation plan and that it has already been of use. “When we had that tornado warning a couple of years ago, everyone we n t i n to the basement,” he said. The mayor pointed out that the building only has about 10 employees and that none are far from either exit.