County may close public access to Justice Center parking
Yesterday's false alarm over at the Justice Center has law enforcement and county officials thinking really hard as to whether or not that facility has adequate security if a incident really were to happen.
Tonight, Commissioner’s Court held a special meeting to discuss just that.
Talks revealed yesterday's scare was a perfect example of what could go wrong and as our Concetta Callahan reports, the community can expect big changes over at the Justice Center.
Effective immediately, they will have limited controlled access to the Justice Center for the general public.
And in the near future access to the parking garage will only be allowed to the facility's employees.
Isidro "Chilo" Alaniz - District Attorney
"The Justice Center, as far as security measures go, is a security nightmare."
A glimpse of that nightmare was seen yesterday when an early morning 9-1-1 call led police to what was believed to be an explosive device.
Examination by PD's bomb squad revealed it was all a hoax.
Sheriff Martin Cuellar - Webb County
"It's unfortunate that something like yesterday's event happened, and we're looking to correct these measures."
"People involved in yesterday's event say it was chaotic and would like to see a well thought out plan put together to be executed the next time something like that happens."
George Rodriguez - Webb County Taxpayer
"I want them to think about what they're going to do. It was a lot of shambles going on traffic wise and so forth."
Sheriff Martin Cuellar admits that right now they're scrambling to make the best corrective measures.
Tonight, officials agreed they would minimize access to the Justice Center by having only 2 entrances and exits and the staircase to be used as an exit only.
District Attorney Chilo Alaniz suggested the parking garage be closed to the general public because security should take priority over convenience.
"It's a small price to pay. I think it’s a small sacrifice in order to know you're in a facility that's safer, not under threat."
He says the Justice Center is very old and was not built with security in mind so the appropriate security changes need to be implemented now to prevent a tragedy from happening.
"This is a wake-up call for Webb County and it's a sign that if someone wanted to commit this type of crime, it's that easy."
The Sheriff's department has already purchased additional security equipment, including X-Ray machines, metal detectors, and barricades to assist with the entrance and exit changes.
The equipment has been purchased through forfeiture funds.
District Attorney Chilo Alaniz suggested the County work with the City to implement a shuttle service through park and ride.