It could take members of the public a little longer to enter Tenth Street Place — the city-county administration center in downtown Modesto — to pay a utility or tax bill, attend a City Council or Board of Supervisors meeting, or conduct other business.
Security guards starting Friday will scan visitors with metal detecting wands as they enter at the public entrances at 10th and 11th streets. That’s in addition to the guards’ current practice of checking visitors’ bags and packages. They also ask visitors whether they have weapons, knives or sharp objects.
The decision to do this was made in November by the City-County Joint Powers Agency Governing Commission. The commission is composed of council members, supervisors and top city and county officials.
The commission was acting on a recommendation from Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Cordova, who serves as the county’s security officer, said Andy Johnson, a management consultant with the county. Cordova based his recommendation upon a security evaluation of Tenth Street Place.
The recommendation will cost $157,045 in the current budget year and includes other security upgrades, such as increasing the number of guards, installing eight more security cameras and buying four wands, according to a JPA staff report.
Johnson said officials do not think visitors will be inconvenienced by the scans. “We believe we have enough resources that we can screen people pretty quickly,” he said, adding that includes large turnouts for City Council and Board of Supervisors meetings.
Information on whether visitors have brought weapons into Tenth Street Place was not available Tuesday, but there have been incidents in which visitors have refused to say whether they have weapons, knives or sharp objects when asked by security guards.
Johnson said more security changes are coming. He said the recommendation called for installing turnstiles for city and county employees at the 10th and 11th street entrances. The employees would activate a turnstile with their employee badges.
Former employees will have to enter with the public and undergo a scan with a metal-detecting wand. Johnson said the turnstiles should be installed over the summer.
At least several hundred city and county employees work in Tenth Street Place, according to Johnson, and the building houses much of city and county government. Hundreds of people visit the building daily.
The JPA commission voted unanimously for the recommendation. The commissioners who voted were council members Kristi Ah You and Mani Grewal, county CEO Stan Risen, Supervisor Dick Monteith and then-Supervisor Bill O’Brien. Jim Holgersson — who was then Modesto’s city manager — was not at the meeting.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316