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Since the tragic Delaware courthouse shooting this past February, there has been a lot of talk about how to ensure the safety and security of the many people who use municipal buildings on a daily basis. These days, most modern courthouse buildings are part of a larger municipal complex, which makes things more convenient for the people the municipalities serve – they can now go to the same complex to do things like paying traffic tickets, applying for a marriage license, or paying the quarterly water bill. But these multi-purpose buildings also require increased security due to multiple entry points and the wide array of visitors.
Whether you have a stand-alone courthouse building, or one that is part of a larger municipal complex, we have the following tips to assess and address your security needs when you’re considering a bullet resistant barrier system.
1. Focus your bulletproof security efforts on key areas most vulnerable to threat
In the case of a large municipal complex, making every door and window in the entire building bulletproof isn’t cost-effective – or necessary. Bullet resistant barriers are an extremely effective crime deterrent when coupled with common-sense security measures. As long as entrances, key transaction areas, and main access points are secured, your municipal building should be protected from most security threats.
2. Design a custom bullet proof barrier solution
A custom bullet proof barrier system typically offers the best security for your employees and the people who use the space on a daily basis. Custom bulletproof barriers are designed to work with the structural elements of your municipal building to ensure a seamless design aesthetic from the existing architecture to the bulletproof elements, including:
Countertops secured with bullet-resistant fiberglass and custom milled to match your existing decor
Window speakers installed in loud areas to ensure ease of communication
3. Work with an experienced bullet resistant barrier expert or architect to perform a building security assessment.
Now that we live in a world that’s on a 24-hour news cycle, it’s very easy for people to get upset by the constant stream of bad news they hear on a daily basis. Even though it’s natural to have a strong urge to implement high-security safety measures, it’s highly likely that what you want and what you need are completely different.
Select an expert team who will be honest with you about your needs and will not over-engineer an inappropriate solution. They should be committed to making sure the scope of your project reflects realistic security needs – which will save you money while still providing appropriate security. You should expect to answer a lot of questions and provide detailed pictures and measurements of the areas being secured in order to receive recommendations customized to your needs.
Be wary of companies who recommend bulletproof elements above a Level IV for municipal applications. On a barrier job for a courthouse or police station, we recommend using bulletproof glass and frames with a UL Rating of 3, which is more than sufficient for most municipal situations.
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