Each day, the region’s residents conduct business, get an education, or carry out the duties of their jobs in the area’s many local government buildings. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' (COG) Human Capital Report, nearly 330,000 of the region’s jobs are in the state and local government sector.
Like anywhere else, these places—including courthouses, council chambers, offices, and schools—can be faced with threats, from unlawful entry, to terrorism, to acts of violence.
To ensure the health, well-being, and safety of the public, government employees, and elected officials, COG will study the physical security infrastructure of local government buildings in 2018.
At its March meeting, the COG Board of Directors were briefed on a plan for moving this initiative forward, beginning with a regional survey of the security measures and policies in place in each jurisdiction.
“There is no federal standard, and there is really no baseline out there for how much security should exist,” said Matt Letourneau, COG Board Chairman and Loudoun County Supervisor at the meeting.
“If you were to visit different jurisdictions you would encounter very different ways of approaching security, from virtually none at all to very restrictive environments.”
According to Letourneau, the survey results will serve as a resource for area leaders, and provide a clearer picture of the current and emerging building security practices of their peers.
COG’s public safety committees and other subject matter experts will develop and conduct the regional survey this spring. Once the results are analyzed, the COG Board will be presented with the findings this fall.
Board members expressed their support for the initiative and asked that the study consider the interplay between heightened security and maintaining an accessible government operation.
Local government building security was last studied at a regional level in 2013 by Montgomery County. It assessed conditions in the District of Columbia and Montgomery, Prince George’s, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties. This 2013 survey will help inform COG’s new initiative.
MORE: COG Board presentation on physical security of local government buildings