Trespasser at City Hall Raises Security Concerns - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Trespasser at City Hall Raises Security Concerns

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RICHMOND (WRIC)—A 65-year-old man is in custody after attempting to push his way into Mayor Dwight Jones' office Tuesday afternoon.

Around 5 p.m. on Oct. 8, Nathaniel Burwell tried to enter Jones' second-floor office at City Hall. Richmond Police arrested him for trespassing when he refused to leave. Officers say they found a hatchet in a bag Burwell left at a guard's post on the first floor. Burwell frequents City Hall and has a lengthy criminal history that includes trespassing, disorderly conduct and a concealed weapons charge.

This, naturally, brings up safety concerns.

Several city employees told 8News that this was not the first time police have had to escort an unruly person out of the building; Councilwoman Reva Trammel has been calling on the mayor for tighter security at City Hall for years.

"[Visitors] can go anywhere they want here—anywhere, all over; they're not checked," she said.

While there are security guards in the building, they sit at only one of four entrances. Trammel points out that they are not armed like the mayor's personal security detail is.

"We don't have $400,000 worth of security like he does," she said. "I don't know what Mr. Mayor is thinking about it. I mean what about all of City Hall, all the employees that work here?"

There used to be metal detectors in the building, but they were removed in 2005 under former Mayor Doug Wilder. Now there are panic buttons located sporadically throughout the building.

One of the security guards admits that if a serious emergency with an armed suspect arose, there's not much he could do.

"I am not armed, so I would have to back out and try to call the police," he said.

There are usually two Richmond Police officers in council chambers during formal City Hall meetings, but they are not there during committee meetings or during the day.

The Mayor's Office said Tuesday's incident raises concerns about internal security and it is now under review.

 

Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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