Pembroke Pines, Fla., Increases City Hall Security

Miami-area community adds metal detection in wake of Atlanta courthouse incident


Visitors to Pembroke Pines City Hall now must walk through a metal detector.

The device was installed at the building's entrance on Wednesday after several employees had expressed concern about their security, City Manager Charlie Dodge said.

The recent incident in Atlanta, where a defendant shot and killed three people in a courthouse, contributed to concerns about security in public buildings nationwide.

Dodge said he has no specific plan for how long the detector will remain. It's a portable device, which can easily be removed or installed in a different city building.

The city used the detector shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks along with other security upgrades. In recent years visitors to City Hall have been asked to show identification, tell a security officer where they are going in the building and wear a visitor's badge. The lobby is staffed by an city police officer or a private security guard.

Dodge said the metal detector will not increase costs. The city has hand-held security wands that can be used if the metal detector goes off.

Having a metal detector in a city hall is unusual in Broward, but visitors at the City Commission meeting took it in stride Wednesday.

''It's not what I can carry in here that makes me dangerous,'' joked Julian Arencibia when he walked through the detector. Arencibia has become angry at some meetings while trying to persuade commissioners to change zoning rules to allow him to keep his pet goats.

''It's my mouth that makes me dangerous.''