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REMINDER: New Safety Enhancements in place at City Commission Meetings

Post Date:January 22, 2016 4:22 PM

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Enhancing Safety at City Commission Meetings

Fort Lauderdale City Hall (100 N. Andrews Avenue) is now equipped with walk-through metal detectors that will be in operation for all City Commission meetings beginning on January 20.  Walk through screenings will be required prior to entering the City Commission Conference Meeting (8th floor Conference Room) and the City Commission Regular Meeting (first floor Commission Chambers).

The safety and security of our neighbors and visitors is our top priority.  Please keep the following in mind to help ensure the most efficient process possible:

  • Arrive early and limit the amount of personal items brought to City Hall
  • Screening lines will be set up at the entrance to the 8th floor conference room and first floor chambers.
  • Prior to walking through the metal detector, all bags and purses will be checked.
  • Personal belongings that may trigger the alarm (i.e., keys, wallets, cellphones, coins, purses, bags, etc.) should be placed in the containers provided.
  • After walking through the metal detector, personal items may be collected on the other side.
  • If the alarm sounds, a secondary screening will take place that could include a hand-held metal detector or a pat down

Prohibited Items:

In accordance with F.S.S. 790.06 (12), weapons or firearms are not allowed in any meeting of the governing body of a municipality. By entering the meeting, you are consenting to a search and screening of your person and any bags or containers in your possession.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City using walk-through metal detectors for Commission meetings?

The safety and security of our neighbors and visitors is the City’s top priority.  The use of walk-through metal detectors provides an enhanced level of protection to those attending Commission meetings.

When will the walk-through metal detectors begin being used for Commission meetings?

The walk-through metal detectors will be in operation for all City Commission meetings effective January 20, 2016.

Will the walk-through metal detectors be in use for City Commission Conference Meetings and Regular Meetings?

Yes. Walk-through screenings will be required prior to entering the City Commission Conference Meeting, which takes place in the 8th floor Conference Room of City Hall, as well as for the City Commission Regular Meeting, which takes place in the Commission Chambers, located on the first floor of City Hall.

What if I have an implanted electronic medical device (i.e., pacemaker) and cannot to go through the walk-through metal detector?

According to the American Heart Association, "Interactions with metal detectors are unlikely to cause clinically significant symptoms in most patients."  However, if neighbors with pacemakers, surgical implants or medical devices are still unsure about going through a walk-through metal detector, they may ask to be screened with a hand-held metal detector or a pat down.

What about pregnant women?

According to the Health Physics Society, the low level of radiation emitted from a walk-through metal detector is not known to pose any increased health risks to pregnant women or to an unborn child. However, in an abundance of caution, pregnant women who are concerned about going through a walk-through metal detector may ask to be screened with a hand-held metal detector or a pat down. 

I have mobility challenges and use a wheelchair. Will I have to go through a walk-through metal detector?

Neighbors with mobility challenges or who need special accommodations will be screened with a hand-held metal detector and directed to the appropriate ADA accessible entrance.

Will it take longer to get into Commission meetings?

While, initially, wait times for neighbors may be longer, over time, wait times should decrease. As neighbors become more familiar with the process, it will take less time to enter the Commission meetings.

What if I need to leave the Commission meeting after I have gone through the security screening?

If you leave the 8th floor or exit the first floor Commission Chambers, you will be required to go through the screening process again in order to be readmitted to the meeting.

When should I arrive at City Commission meetings?

Neighbors are encouraged to plan accordingly and arrive early particularly for the first several Commission meetings when the metal detectors will be in operation.  Doors to the 8th floor Conference Room and the first floor Commission Chambers will open approximately 60 minutes prior to the start of the meetings.

Will I be able to check in prohibited items or will I have to throw them out?

If prohibited items are found in a bag, purse or on a person, neighbors will have the option of returning them to their vehicle. Illegal items will be turned over to the Fort Lauderdale Police.

Will I need to remove my shoes and belt?

Neighbors entering City Commission meetings will not have to remove their belt or shoes prior to going through the walk-through metal detectors.

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