A safer place
April 14, 2004
The expectation now is that Meridian's City Hall will be a safer place with full-time security provided by two police officers. That's what the mayor and council said when they approved the new security measures, ostensibly to protect city officials and employees from irate customers, who are otherwise known as citizens.
We have another suggestion that has nothing to do directly with security but might get at the root causes of the frustration felt by many customers and citizens: Improve courtesy and competence, especially in the Water Department.
Citizens who have shared their tales recently suggest a pattern of outright incompetence accompanied by arrogance and nonchalance on the part of some city officials and workers when it comes to a fundamental service of city government. Too often, there is an attitude of cool indifference as to whether a problem gets solved or a bill gets corrected. While no customer should ever fly off the handle, this attitude is not conducive to warm, fuzzy feelings for city government.
We have no problem with the additional security at City Hall, but it is unfair to say it is needed because of incidents like the July 2003 shootings at the Lockheed-Martin plant. Those tragic shootings were done not by some interloper but by a plant employee. School shootings at various places in the U.S. have been done by students, not strangers on campus.
Police officers on duty at City Hall can help protect the workers by separating them from the public when necessary, but police alone can't solve the basic problem.
It's a sad state of affairs when city officials and employees have to be segregated from the people they serve. To fix it will take a change of attitude about who serves whom.