The tragic shootings at Kirkwood City Hall have prompted some questions about the safety of residents who serve as volunteer members of City of St. Louis’s various boards and commissions, as well as the security of citizens who attend those meetings.
In general, most such meetings are models of civility, with board members, applicants, and City staffers engaged in the close detail work of representative democracy. When tempers flare - and they occasionally do - most commissions’ chairpersons know when to call a judicious recess - or a city marshal.
Security at St. Louis City Hall was a personal and professional interest of then-mayor (and former police chief) Clarence Harmon, who added security check points and numerous cameras throughout the building between 1997 and 2001. Following 9/11, the security of City Hall was increased even more, with everyone (including me) required to pass through metal detectors at the entrances.
Certainly, no security measures are proof against a determined miscreant, but St. Louis City Hall is a safe place for us all to conduct the people’s business.