Utility Office

Modern Bulletproof Glass Barriers for High Traffic Municipal and Utility Offices

Architects/Glaziers/General Contractors, Bulletproof Products, Municipal/Utilities/Government

Share this Post

Designing a bulletproof glass barrier system for city or municipal offices means striking a balance. On one hand, it is absolutely vital that local government be accessible to every member of the community—including those who face challenges with mobility, speech, hearing, or communication. On the other hand, the public servants standing behind the counter need some level of protection against the uncertainty of increasingly volatile interactions at city halls and offices.

According to Bob George, a senior consultant with Total Security Solutions, “After protection and peace-of-mind, it always comes down to three things: budget, aesthetics, and being able to communicate across the barrier. And, of course, installation times. A town hall or utility office can’t just close up shop. They have a responsibility to be available and meet their community’s needs.”

In recent years, TSS has found that local government offices have tended toward slightly higher security systems than in the past. Today, most municipal and payment offices are installing Level 3 bulletproof glass systems. These are capable of stopping multiple shots from any sort of handgun. City offices tend to favor either LP1250 ballistic polycarbonate or glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP) bulletproof glass. Both of these are laminated materials that include polycarbonate, as well as glass or acrylic. This allows them to have both bulletproof and forced-entry/blast resistance without completely compromising light transmission and aesthetics.

Total Security Solutions has an established track record for balancing these factors when designing, fabricating, and installing bulletproof glass barriers for local government agencies. TSS is especially sensitive to how important it is for a local government installation to stay on schedule and avoid any sort of business-hours disruption.

Installing Ballistic Glass without Disruption

Take, for example, this project, installing a barrier system for Marion Township in Michigan. “This is a good example of where our strength as installers came into play,” notes Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards.

“That was a four to five-hour job,” Jim explains. “But it turned out there were a couple of incorrectly cut ballistic panels. For a lot of contractors, that could be a disaster and put a project days off of schedule. But because we have a lot of depth in our team—the largest installation team in this industry, by far—getting those panels remade and to the site only added an hour or two to the total installation. We still finished on time. Think about any construction project: Things go wrong. At TSS, we’re never just gonna throw up our hands and say ‘Well, I guess this is just gonna go over budget or off schedule.’ We respond positively. We stay on top of it. We’re responsive.”

A Smooth Process with Smooth Results

In 2018, the Gallatin Department of Electricity (Gallatin, TN) decided to update their security barrier. According to Mark Kimbell, the General Manager of the Gallatin Department of Electricity, “We’ve had a few incidents over the years where we’ve had some irate customers.” None of these were armed altercations, but “the girls up front, especially with the bulletproof, it makes them feel more secure“ because of the added buffer and “psychological armor” the barrier creates.

With these new barriers, Gallatin needed to address several issues, including upgrading the security level and improving communication through the barrier.

“The old system was to have a hole that you always had to lean into and talk,” Kimbell explains. “It was difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to hear. But the baffle system [TSS designed] works really well. … They came and did all the measuring and approached each problem that we had. We had several different little things that took a little studying on to solve.” These included creating a unique, fully enclosed barrier with an acrylic top to prevent any attempts to harm workers by throwing items.

overhead shot of ballistic barriers in Gallatin TN

Most importantly, all of this was done with minimal disruption to operations. “The installation was really nice because they did it after-hours when nobody was here. It didn’t interrupt our office hours. It was just a really smooth process. The biggest surprise for us was it modernized the look of the front of the building. Ours is a 1960s-style building [and] … it never had a really modern look to it. Now it does. It looks a lot more up-to-date than it ever did before.”

Most importantly, all of this was done with minimal disruption to operations. “The installation was really nice because they did it after-hours when nobody was here. It didn’t interrupt our office hours. It was just a really smooth process. The biggest surprise for us was it modernized the look of the front of the building. Ours is a 1960s-style building [and] … it never had a really modern look to it. Now it does. It looks a lot more up-to-date than it ever did before.”

Custom Bulletproof Glass Solutions for Municipal Offices

That same year, TSS installed a new bulletproof glass barrier for the Energy Cooperative of Zanesville, OH. According to Dan McVey, VP of Operations, “We had some security concerns with low countertop areas where people might be able to reach across the counter. So we decided to raise the counter and also install bulletproof glass for the protection of our member service representatives.”

In Zanesville, they were especially concerned about clear communication as well. “One of the things that was important to us was still having good face-to-face interaction with our members,” McVey explained. “So they didn’t feel isolated from our member service representatives.” This was also important to his staff, who “feel better interacting with the members when you’re looking at them eye to eye level.”

TSS developed this custom large-format hole-and-backer solution for the Energy Cooperative.

Ready to Talk to a Ballistic Expert?

Since 2004, TSS has designed, engineered, fabricated, and installed over 21,000 ballistic systems across the country. As the only nationwide custom bulletproof barrier manufacturer and installer, TSS offers bulletproof systems to fit your unique space. Reach out to talk to one of our ballistic experts or download the 5 Key Components of a Utility Office Security Plan tip sheet.

Utility Office Checklist

Previous ArticleNext Article