Feb 22, 2013 4:28 PM
The Tucson Police department has created a six month pilot program to boost security inside city hall. The decision was made in the last month. Sgt. Maria Hawke, a department spokeswoman said the unit will be comprised of ten police officers and a sergeant. One officer will be stationed inside city hall each day and the unit will also respond to low level calls.
"You know the decision has been made to provide some additional security for the mayor and for the office of the mayor," said Assistant Chief Brett Klein.
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said, "there's been no kind of security at city hall. I've been in a lot of government buildings in my life and I've never found one as insecure."
The city has a private security officer in city hall but Rothschild said a uniformed officer will be stationed in the lobby. The mayor said he feels safe, "as I've told my mother when she asked I do not feel unsafe. I feel perfectly confident but I also believe in the world we live in today we ought to have common sense not just for the mayor but for all the people who work in this building."
Rothschild said there have been incidents including one just last week, "but there was a fairly serious threat that came in and it was just a verbal threat."
A Tucson Police officer has been in the city hall lobby for the last few months and Rothschild said it's been necessary, "we'll have to call up an officer because a relatively unstable person has just walked into the building, our office. It doesn't make a good impression for the city of Tucson."
The pilot program will launch March 3, Hawke said. In the meantime, officers stationed inside city hall are considered off duty and receiving overtime pay.