Additional security has been added at the Horry County Government and Justice Center. (Source: WMBF News)
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus feels that a form of security on both sides of the Horry County Government and Justice Center is important for the safety of those visiting and those who work there.
“You know, it's the sign of the times. We have a lot of activity, we have a lot people for different reasons in and out of our building and in and out of our chambers," Lazarus said "It's just something that most councils are doing now. North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach is doing it. So it's something we've implemented for ourselves.”
Lazarus felt the added security is a way to ensure safety, especially when thinking about some of the more debated topics that come before council, which can bring a standing-room-only crowd.
“It’s not just security for us, but it's security for anyone that is in the facility at the time," he said. "A lot of the time there's a lot of people for and against certain zoning issues and other issues that come before council. So it's not just for the council members and the staff, but it's for all people concerned.”
While there isn't permanent security set up yet, on nights where there are council meetings and any other time larger crowds are expected on the council chamber's side, security check points will be there.
Lazarus said there will be a metal detector and multiple deputies who will be checking bags and using metal detecting wands on each person who passes through.
“It’s just like if you were going through the court system," he said. "That's the way they set it up the other night. From this point forward, that's how it will be when you're going into the chambers until we expand on it in the future.”
Lazarus added this will also protect those who are there to protect residents and the added security measures are not meant to keep people from coming to council meetings.
“We are not discouraging anyone from coming, but it shouldn't matter to people who don't have a problem," he said. "And it should matter to people who maybe do have a problem. With the events that are taking place nationally and all around the area, for the safety of all concerned, we feel it's a good step for us.”
Lazarus added there will also be added security for the offices on the council chamber side.
“We’re also looking at other safety measures for our employees on that side," he said. "If you notice, you go into the treasurer’s or auditor's offices and things of that nature, there's glass and you can't get in to the back. So, probably we will start seeing some of that, put some walls and some glass or reception areas for people as they come in just to protect our workers.”