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Franklin County beefs up security

February 19, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Commissioners adopted an ordinance Tuesday that puts some teeth into the security system it expanded following the terrorist attacks in 2001.

"This codifies a lot of what we're already doing," said G. Warren Elliott, chairman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. "This allows for enforcement."

Elliott said the ordinance more or less spells out the security procedures in county buildings that were in place or in the process of being expanded prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks, however, speeded up their implementation, Elliott said.

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The ordinance goes into effect March 1, and allows for a maximum $1,000 fine or imprisonment up to 10 days for people who violate the security procedures.

"If someone violates now, we can't do anything about it," said Welton Fischer, county solicitor.

The ordinance covers all county buildings, including the Franklin County Courthouse and the courthouse annex, where the security system is most visible.

The security can include walk-through metal detectors, X-ray machines, alarm systems and video surveillance.

Users of county facilities must enter through designated entrances and will be screened and bags and packages will be manually searched or scanned by X-ray equipment.

All county employees must wear their issued photo identification badges when in county buildings, as they have been doing for more then a year.

Anyone carrying a weapon, including firearms, knives, chemical mace and similar substances are in violation of the ordinance if they do not surrender it to the Sheriff's Office or security personnel at the checkpoint.

There are several exceptions, including on-duty law enforcement personnel.

Anyone who violates the ordinance may be denied entry into county buildings, may be expelled from county buildings and on conviction at a summary proceeding be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $1,000 to the county, or imprisonment of not more than 10 days.

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