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North Suburban News

Reading Looks to Enhance Building Security

May 01, 2019 10:28PM ● By Dan Marra

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READING –After tabling a discussion on town security, Town Meeting members could again discuss Article 16 Thursday night when Town Meeting continues.

The measure asks Town Meeting to allow the town to approve a debt authorization of $4 million in order to make security improvements to various town and school buildings. A debt authorization allows the town to borrow money without needing an override. According to the town, the $4 million sum will be paid back over 10 years.

The debate around this issue has revolved around the little information Town Meeting has received regarding this topic. Because the issue is the safety and security of various buildings in Reading, only a limited number of employees have full knowledge of the planned improvements, including the Superintendent, the Town Manager, the School CFO, facilities director and the police department.

Every school in Reading, the library, police station, Town Hall and DPW building would all potentially see these security improvements.

“The building security capital project remains the highest priority of both the Superintendent and the Town Manager,” reads the town warrant.

But other than saying the $4 million would go to enhance security measures at public buildings in Reading, little more has been explained about the project, and little more is expected to come out. The town has already spent $500,000 to have a firm review the public buildings in town, assess them for security risks and build risk assessments. Based on those risks, the town would then make security improvements on town buildings.

“The documents produced for this project contains sensitive information relating to the security or safety of persons, buildings and other critical infrastructure within the town of Reading,” the warrant reads. “Because releasing these documents may significantly jeopardize the safety and security of the public, these documents are exempt from release.”

According to Andy Friedman, the objective of enhancing the security measures at town buildings is to accomplish certain security measures – to deter an event from occurring, to detect an event, to delay an event, to respond to an event and to recover from an event.

“This will ensure we’re making investments for the safety of the public in our schools and town offices,” said Matt Kraunelis, assistant town manager. “With all the horrific things happening, we want to make sure we’re prepared for everything.”

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