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Green Bay committee discusses boosting security measures at City Hall

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Posted at 11:13 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 02:20:02-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Green Bay's personnel committee is discussing to boost security at City Hall.

The proposal comes five days after microphones were removed from the first and second floor hallways of the building.

City officials have said the purpose of adding microphones to City Hall's security system was due to safety concerns from the last year and a half.

Those concerns came from city staff and community members.

Following a vote from the Common Council on March 7, those microphones are gone.

Tuesday night, city leaders discussed possibly having police officers help secure the building.

"This building is completely unsecured," Green Bay Police Chief Chris Davis said.

Davis said from experience, his staff and other city staff are having more stressful encounters with community members.

"And that's not to say that every member of the public who is dissatisfied with city services is dangerous," Davis said. "But, nationally, I think the direction we're going is towards more risk occasionally of violence in public buildings."

Davis proposed several options to the committee to enhance City Hall security.

  • Staffing the building with two full-time officers
  • Contracting with a company to provide security
  • Using Community Service Officers (CSOs)
  • Creating an area for a reception desk on the first floor

Council members chimed in with their thoughts.

"I've long thought we should have someone at that reception desk, somebody who could answer any question," Council Vice Chair Brian Johnson said. "I've long questioned why City Hall is such a free-for-all...The other piece that I want to be sensitive to, and I appreciate your point, Chief, that having somebody who's armed creates a sense of safety for a lot of people. But it creates a lot of angst for others."

"I think when there's a uniform officer, even a security guard, people feel safer in that facility," Council President Jesse Brunette said.

District 4 Alderman Bill Galvin said since the beginning of 2019, there have been 207 police calls from City Hall.

But 35 of those calls required an officer to respond.

"This is a public building, with a lot of actions that takes place here," Galvin said.

Davis said he did not propose anything specific to Mayor Eric Genrich for the budget, but said there have been discussions with the issue of City Hall security becoming more common.

"I think some of the incidents that we've had at City Hall over the last year and a half or so have been the catalyst for some of those discussions among us," Davis said.

After about an hour of discussion, the committee voted unanimously to refer the proposal back to staff.