Just over a week from now the act of petitioning your government for redress of grievances — or just paying your tax bill — will take more of your time.
A new security checkpoint goes live at the Kern County Administrative Center on March 27.
You’ll have to wait in line and walk through a metal detector before you can get to Kern County Board of Supervisors meetings, the Kern County Elections Division, the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office or any number of other county government offices located at 1115 Truxtun Ave.
So leave your nail files, mace canisters, pocket knives and large caliber semi-automatic weapons at home.
Supervisors, on Jan. 10, voted to “harden” the county’s main office building.
"I, for one, am terrified to be in a public building without a metal detector," Supervisor Leticia Perez said.
Supervisor Mick Gleason called the decision a no-brainer.
Kern Law Enforcement Association questioned why supervisors were protecting themselves while the public had to face a weakened force of street deputies protecting them in their neighborhoods.
But supervisors and leaders of county departments said the world is a different place than it was a few decades ago.
Some members of the public have lost their cool with county leaders for as long as Kern has been a county, they acknowledge.
But the prevalence of mass shootings across the nation and recent incidents where angry petitioners and mentally ill individuals have ridden the building’s elevators all the way to supervisors’ offices on the top floor have brought the danger home, they said.
On Friday the county issued a list of all the items that will be banned from entry into the Kern County Administrative Center.
- any knife or tool with a blade in excess of four inches
- tear gas weapons such as mace
- stun guns and tasers
- any compressed air weapon
- brass knuckles
- martial arts weapons including nun-chucks and throwing stars
- illegal drugs and paraphernalia
- plastic molded knives or letter openers
- can openers, shanks, spikes, etc.
- razors or box cutters
- replica or toy guns
- Anything else sheriff deputies who will be manning the station deem to be a hazard to the public, supervisors or county staff.