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Kearns & Howard address security concerns at county auto bureaus


Wed, Jun 6th 2018 05:10 pm
Sheriff's Office to conduct security assessment, active shooter training for county clerk's office employees
On Wednesday, Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns announced the Erie County Sheriff's Office will conduct an assessment of security at each of the county's 11 auto bureau offices and mobile locations. Kearns has also written to the Erie County Legislature, requesting the appropriate committee consider and review the issue of security at local auto bureaus.
At county hall and the numerous auto bureau offices open to the public, employees have direct contact with more than 750,000 customers each year. Kearns said staffers must be prepared for any isolated event or threat.
The Erie County Clerk's Office has 97 employees who work at various locations outside of old county hall, which is secured by state court officers. Currently, only one of the county's auto bureaus, 170 Pearl St., has security on staff for the entire day provided through the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Security is provided at only one other auto bureau location through a third-party contractor, Cheektowaga. However, security is present only during Saturday hours of operation.
At the remaining nine locations, all occupied by lease or agreement with the county, employees and customers alike must rely on a response from a 911 call. These employees working at the local auto bureaus process an average of 50,000 transactions monthly while an average of 40,000 to 50,000 Erie County residents enter Erie County offices to do business. In all but one location, no security officer is available in the event of an emergency.
"Through talking with each of the employees working at the local auto bureaus, it became clear that a top concern is the lack of security at offices outside of downtown," Kearns said. "I strongly believe that no one should go to work feeling unsettled in their work environment. The employees at our auto bureaus are dealing with high-stress situations and are also handling financial transactions. I thank Sheriff (Timothy) Howard for offering the services of the Erie County Sheriff's Office to develop a security plan for county employees who work outside the downtown area, and I am looking forward to discussing this further with the County Legislature."
Howard said, "My office has worked with elected officials to bring greater security for the buildings and employees at county offices downtown, and I am pleased to work with County Clerk Kearns to bring a high level of safety and security to the satellite offices of the auto bureaus. My skilled team will deliver an assessment and training to these county employees, as well."
The Erie County Sheriff's Office said security has responded to 115 complaints at the downtown auto bureau over the last year. These complaints included suspicious person, disorderly person, assault, criminal mischief and served warrant.

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