Monday, October 01, 2012

City Council

I've been covering city council since March, and except for the infamous bedlam meeting it's been fairly calm. However, a funny event happened at the last meeting that I wanted to record, but wasn't really appropriate for the paper. It just didn't fit in the article, and it's too petty and silly to write about alone.

The city council meetings are held in the city's courtroom at the Law and Justice Center, which is also the police headquarters. The mayor sits where the judge usually sits, with the rest of council arrayed around him.

Now, because of the nature of a courtroom, there is a panic button in the judge's seat that apparently sets off a REALLY loud alarm in the main police room. If that alarm goes off, officers rush into the courtroom in moments to stop whatever thing is happening.

At the last council meeting, the mayor accidentally set off the alarm.

The police were at the door immediately, but since they could tell there was no disturbance and the meeting was proceeding normally, they stopped and tried to figure out how to tell the mayor that he'd set off the alarm without disrupting the meeting. The first I noticed there was a problem was when I saw the mayor looking like he'd eaten a lemon and staring at the door to the courtroom. I turned around to try to figure out what was happening, but it wasn't until several minutes later that everyone in the room found out when an officer finally came in to tell the mayor what had happened and turn off the alarm. There was no way to do it quietly, sadly.

The mayor was horribly embarrassed, but the guy who had the job prior to him said he'd done it too. The city's judge, who happened to be in the council meeting on other business, joked that he was glad to know the button actually worked, which suggests to me that he's never had to use it. That sort of surprised me, considering how horrible everyone tells me crime is in this town. You'd think courtroom disruptions would be routine?

Anyway, it was an amusing event that didn't fit into the normal news. So I'll remember it here.


Dwight Williams said...

It says something very good about courthouse security that the judge didn't need to use that button!

Tom Galloway said...

If I'm recalling correctly, on his first official tour of the White House as President Jimmy Carter was told if he pressed a certain button, he'd be evacuated and on a helicopter within 2 minutes. He said something like "OK, let's test that" and pressed the button. It was considerably longer than 2 minutes before he was put on a helicopter. Heads rolled.