A Hall County employee publicly told county commissioners Monday that he is concerned about safety in the county government center.
Sam Baker, Transportation Planning Manager for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, spoke during the public comments portion of Monday's commission work session. He said a recent shooting that left 12 people dead in a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia heightened his concerns.
"As I recall, there were similar deadly incidents at the U.S. Postal Service and in San Bernardino, California," Baker told commissioners. "As it stands right now, anybody, whether it's a citizen or an employee, can easily enter the Hall County Government Center with a gun, go virtually anywhere in the building and randomly shoot anybody, and there is absolutely nothing that I see to stop it."
Baker told commissioners he wanted to see increased security at the building's main entrance and more restrictions on access to back doors.
Hall County Public Information Officer Katie Crumley said the county has a number of security measures in place in the government center.
"We do have emergency plans in place for that type of thing and we also have ample security in the building. The Hall County Marshall's Office is located here," Crumley said. "We also have security guards who work throughout the day to keep both the public and employees safe."
Commission Chairman Richard Higgins told Baker after his comments that the county would look in to the building's safety but no other commissioners commented on Baker's statement.
After the meeting, Baker said he was not aware of any other Hall County employees who had expressed similar concerns.
"What I said is simply my own thoughts and feelings," Baker said.
Crumley said mass shootings like the one in Virginia often make employees more concerned about office safety, but she said it is rare for county employees to make those concerns public.
"It's certainly brought to the forefront of our employees minds and often administration's as well," Crumley said. "Since I've been with Hall County, this is the first time (an employee has) held an audience in front of the board of commissioners during a meeting like this."
No other employees or citizens spoke to Baker's concerns.