A stepped-up level of security is becoming the norm at government buildings across the state and country, and the Chisago County Government Center recently beefed up its security, as well.
Just last week, the center set up a single point of entry at the building’s main entrance.
A guard staffs the checkpoint during the center’s normal business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“It’s a physical presence, but a welcoming presence,” County Administrator Bruce Messelt said, noting the guards, five part-time employees, are also able to direct visitors where to go if they’re unfamiliar with the layout of the center.
In addition to the guards, there are also now metal detectors at the entrance.
“It’s a very noninvasive approach,” Messelt said.
The Chisago County Board of Commissioners approved funding for the security upgrades last year, and the implementation of those upgrades coincided with the completion of the visitor parking lot at the building.
So far, Messelt said the reaction to the security enhancements has been “very, very positive.”
He also explained that there will soon be an area of the building visitors can access without having to go through the security if they’re visiting for brief business visits, like dropping off property taxes.
“We’re trying to balance customer service with the sad reality of today’s needed security improvements,” Messelt said.