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Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Security comes into sharper focus after township shooting

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 7, 2013 9:12 PM

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Local government officials may be reeling from news of the Monday night shooting at a township meeting in Monroe County, but the head of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors isn't expecting a wave of additional safety and security measures - or money.

"Nobody has enough money or time to protect everyone against every threat," said Dave Sanko, executive director of PSATS. He said additional funding to boost municipal building safety would be nice, but it's unlikely to come from the state.

The alleged shooter at the Ross Township public meeting was reportedly in a dispute with local officials over his property. The reported rampage left three people dead.

Sanko said the incident, like other tragedies before it, will refocus municipal officials on safety measures they might have considered frivolous before.

"I saw discussions yesterday with some of our townships - they were having a discussion about upgrading their township building a couple weeks ago. The architect had recommended bullet-proof glass," said Sanko. "The citizens of the community at the public meeting said, 'We're not paying for bullet-proof glass, nothing ever happens here, that's a cost we don't need.' [It's] probably a different answer than you would get today."

He added it's hard to imagine how the Ross Township man might have been deterred with additional training or the typical safety measures like security cameras and bullet-proof glass.

"Township officials are on the front line of interacting with the public - probably more than anyone else in the country," Sanko said. "And it's a delicate balance between being accessible and providing that security."

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