The cost would be a one-time payment of $6,000 to purchase the portable magnetometer that can roll out prior to meetings, and have hand-held wands to search personal items or bags. A rough estimate of annual personnel costs to operate the machine would be between $2,000 to $3,000, Bucheit said.
The installation of the portable magnetometer is dependent on the supplier, the police chief said, but added the metal detector could be in use by the first May meeting.
Metal detectors are not used to access Butler County Commission meetings, nor some of the county’s largest communities, like Middletown, Fairfield, and West Chester Twp. Hamilton City Schools has a school resource officer at all board of education meetings, and a walk-thru metal detector for visitors, according to Superintendent Mike Holbrook.
Two of the state’s largest cities vary in the use of metal detectors. The city of Dayton does not use metal detectors, though they have a police presence at each meeting. The city of Cincinnati does utilize metal detectors, according to the city clerk’s office.
Bucheit said Hamilton is “probably on the front end of the curve,” and sees its use as “quickly becoming a part of the landscape with public meetings.”
Mayor Pat Moeller said, “Safety is a concern at all government buildings.”
“Council thought it would be an appropriate time to hear from our public safety professionals about what Council could do for council meetings and possibly other public meetings that are held on the first floor,” he said.
Vice Mayor Michael Ryan said this was a topic the council and city officials had talked about.
“We want to provide a safer environment for our residents that wish to speak to council, and attend our council meetings,” said Ryan. Because other Hamilton boards and commissions use this meeting room, the vice mayor said “this will provide some additional protection and security measures for those folks as well.”