City seeks balance with security plan
Published 7:01 pm Friday, March 7, 2014
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves is often asked if being a mayor is what he thought it would be.
He compares it to parenthood, the first time you lay eyes on your child.
“It’s one of those things that nobody can explain to you,” he said. “One thing I didn’t realize was the responsibility of citizens and employees. It’s not a burden, but it’s a responsibility that weighs very heavily on me.
“I’m going to do everything I need to do to make sure everybody is okay.”
Part of that responsibility is safety. Reeves said it was part of his core values. He has worked on improving safety at city hall and throughout the city facilities since taking office. But, he does not want safety to come at the cost of accessibility.
“I think we’ve struck a good balance,” Reeves said of the latest wave of safety upgrades. “We feel like we’ve taken appropriate measures. But, it’s something we’re going to constantly review.”
Those who visit City Hall for anything other than paying a utility bill or renewing a business license will have to sign in at the front desk and state their business.
In most cases, the person you are there to see will meet you in the lobby and escort you to the appropriate room.
Employees now wear badges, which they scan and use to unlock doors throughout the building. Reeves said the badges have a second benefit. “You know exactly who you’re talking to.”
Reeves said the public areas of the building are still public. The council chambers and the lobby are just as open as they have always been.
“We have some controlled access points, but we don’t think it’s going to affect anybody in a negative way.”
In some ways, the building is more accessible. Reeves shuffled a few offices around, his included. The Mayor’s Suite and the human resources office are now downstairs.
To continue that open, accessible goal, Reeves has started spending Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to noon, working in the council chambers. He said these “public sector meetings” are a time where anyone can stop by for a visit and have a chat with him.
“We work for the public and the public are our customers. But, we need to balance that and make sure that the people are safe,” he said.
Funding for the security upgrades were already in the budget. They came from the capital improvement funds of each department.
“We’ve budgeted money for security and we’re going to continue to do that and we’re going to work within our budget to make sure we have a customer-friendly city.”
The Troy Police Department’s security has also been upgraded. Reeves said people would see a difference in the level of security of each city building.
“Once we get where we want to be, I hope to have a small budget every year to maintain what we have,” he said. “We hope to become safer and more customer-friendly every day. That’s what I strive to do every day.”
Reeves hopes none of the security upgrades are necessary.
“I hope that 20 years from now, people will say I wasted time and money on safety,” he said. “Because that’ll mean no one ever got hurt.”