In Lexington, Additional Security at Urban County Council Meetings

Starting next week, a uniformed security officer will be present at all Urban County Council work sessions.

The decision to step up security at Lexington's city hall came at the request of Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon.

Scanlon, who last Friday received a letter in the mail with fecal matter inside, said the idea of increasing security had been on his mind for months.

He decided to ask Mayor Teresa Isaac for extra security following last week's Atlanta courthouse shooting in which a judge and two other people were killed.

Security in the Urban County Government Center "is almost non-existent," Scanlon said. "I don't think we should waste a lot of the taxpayers money going crazy, but I think it needs to be tightened up a notch or two, particularly if you're watching things like what happened in Atlanta. That's just too spooky."

Scanlon said his security request did not have anything to do with the mail that was sent to him last week. Scanlon's aide filed a police report after opening two envelopes that contained harassing materials.

"The letter was more about a person who's sick than violent," he said.

Isaac supports Scanlon's request for increased security, said Bruce Edwards, Isaac's press secretary.

The security plan wouldn't cost more since staff would be redeployed, not added. For now, the government will have one of its uniformed security officers at each of the council's Tuesday work sessions.

The city also has a general policy that either Lexington police Chief Anthany Beatty or one of his representatives is at the Thursday council meetings.

Council member Sandy Shafer said that security in council chambers hasn't been an issue. But she acknowledged the move is in line with other jurisdictions.

"Typically the people that come to council meetings don't seem to be acting out in any way, but there's always, I guess, the first time," Shafer said. "It's better to protect the safety of those people serving and those people in the room to the highest level."

The government is also considering adding security at other meetings such as the Planning Commission or the Board of Adjustment, Edwards said.

Since Isaac took office, her administration has constantly reviewed security at city hall, he said. "It's ongoing, but in light of what happened to the vice mayor, it's time to intensify what we're looking at."

Security changes over the last two years include restricted parking in the government center garage, employee badges, visitor badges and sign-in sheets at the front door.