VINTON, Va. (WFXR) – The Town of Vinton is tightening security in one of their most prominent buildings.
Council members approved a $100,000 system upgrade and access control expansion for the municipal building in October 2019. The plans were submitted by members of the town’s safety committee.
“It was basically a team effort. The safety committee analyzed and worked with the public safety portion of our town and what we ended up doing was, once we had a plan, we went to the council and they were very supportive of the plan that was laid out,” says Barry Thompson, Town Manager for the Town of Vinton.
Improvements include security doors for access to the Town Manager’s Office, bullet-proof security windows for the Treasurer’s Office and Planning and Zoning Office, panic buttons in most employee offices, and additional security cameras both inside and outside of the building.
The upgrades took three months to complete.
Towns officials say they wanted to ensure the safety of their employees and visitors with the rise of violence and mass shootings throughout the country.
“We’ve looked at what’s happened in other places and our safety committee took those events, looked at them, and said ‘what can we do to mitigate some of those things and how can we make our building a safer place to work and a safer place to visit again?'” says Chief Tom Foster with the Vinton Police Department.
Through a special agenda called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), he says they were able to change the physical environment of the building while also keeping it an open and welcoming place.
Chief Foster hopes this new upgrade is a perfect example for others who are thinking about doing the same.
“We can do so much through the use of technology and wireless devices, that any building, whether it’s 100 years old, or 30-40 years old like this building, we can go in and enhance the safety through the use of technology and through just changing the physical environment,” says Chief Foster.
Town officials say the municipal building is the third place to receive security improvements. They also upgraded their Public Works Building and the Vinton War Memorial.
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