OPINION

SPECIAL: Yates County Clerk's view on weapons in county buildings

Lois E. Hall, Yates County Clerk; Molly Linehan, Deputy Clerk

In anticipation of the Dec. 29 public hearing, Yates County Clerk Lois Hall penned the following in response to the changes made to the local law being considered by the county legislature on the possession of dangerous weapons in county buildings.

Yates County Clerk Lois Hall addressing the County Legislature, urging them to pass a local law banning dangerous weapons from the county office building. Recent increases in angry and violent visitors to county offices, especially the DMV, have raised concerns for the safety of public employees.

There have been numerous conversations pertaining to the proposed local law 3-2021 entitled "A Local Law Banning the Possession of Firearms and Dangerous Weapons in a Building Owned, Leased or Operated by the County of Yates." As the Yates County Clerk and as a concerned Yates County resident and tax payer, my opinion is this: There is no reason to carry a dangerous weapon, concealed or openly, into any building operated by Yates County unless there is intent to harm.

Given the current environment in which we all live today, caused either directly or indirectly by new COVID restrictions and requirements, so many people that we see every day have grown increasingly frustrated and upset. These new rules, regulations, COV{D protocols, and just life in general have made deescalating situations much more difficult. In the 18 years I have been employed by Yates County, I have never seen things so volatile. The number of times law enforcement has been called to assist in my offices has increased tremendously during the past year.

My concern is not only for the safety of my office staff and for the other employees in the various offices in this building, but for the people that enter this building every day to do business or obtain assistance. Without any type of security or local law banning the possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in county buildings, each and every one of us is at risk.

Most counties, with the exception of Wayne County (which has a new facility with bulletproof glass), have deputies and/or security officers stationed at the entrances of the buildings. Many also have a magnetometer, as well. Monroe County has hired an outside security company to assist with security in their county buildings.

Passing the proposed local law is a first step in helping to ensure the safety of Yates County employees and the public while in Yates County facilities.

Thank you,

Lois E. Hall, Yates County Clerk

Molly Linehan, Deputy Clerk

The public hearing on proposed local law 3-2021 entitled "A Local Law Banning the Possession of Firearms and Dangerous Weapons in Buildings Owned, Leased or Operated By the County of Yates" will be held Dec. 29 at 1:40 p.m. in the legislature's chamber.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letter writers are responsible for making sure the information they submit is accurate and factual.