PAEDC goes back to drawing board for security system

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

After a lengthy discussion over security for their building the Port Arthur Economic Corporation Board of Directors decided to send proposals from three alarm companies back to their security committee before proceeding.

The board held their regular meeting on Tuesday night at the PAEDC building, 501 Procter St. in Port Arthur.

The discussion started when Bill McCoy, president of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, said they are tenants on the third floor of the building too. He asked the PAEDC board if they had met yet with the 501 Procter Street Board, the owner of the property.

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McCoy said currently the only safe option is to lock the front door and have someone call the chamber of commerce to come down and let them in.

He mentioned the door was not locked sometimes during Christmastime and nobody from the PAEDC was there. He’s concerned someone can walk into the building, hide in the stairwell, and wait until after hours.

“We care,” McCoy said. “We want to address this issue of security. We don’t have a key to the front door. The employees here need to be safe.”

“We now have an intruder policy. There’s also a good possibility we’ll be leasing the rest of the third floor and there will be another tenant.”

Floyd Batiste, executive director of the PAEDC, said they need a panic button for the system. He added they already have security cameras in place, but they can’t control who comes in off the street.

Director Richard Wycoff said all of this was after the fact and employees could be placed in a dangerous situation.

“It doesn’t take long for things to happen,” he said. “We need a security guard here. We can’t put a cost on lives. You want to put cost ahead of lives? I don’t think so. It’s in the budget and we can afford it.”

He also cited the recent episode of the shooter at the Fort Lauderdale Airport who got his gun from his baggage and how the airport had all kinds of security systems.

Director Kenneth Marks asked if the 501 Procter Street Board had any responsibility or could help with the security system to defray costs or would the PAEDC have to pay for everything.

Batiste said the PAEDC has a master lease to the building and they control the building.

McCoy said they have a video system on the third floor for the chamber offices, but no live monitoring.

Marks said he was concerned if the security guard took a break or went to the restroom they would still be vulnerable.

“I’m in favor of locking the second door (interior front door) and contacting someone inside,” Marks said.

President Ingrid West Holmes said the annual cost for an armed security guard would be $40,000 and $30,000 a year for an unarmed security guard.

She said an unarmed guard would not be a benefit because they would have to contact someone on the outside like anyone else would.

Wycoff said at least with an unarmed guard there would be someone to see what’s going on.

McCoy said it would be “very acceptable” to have a phone at the front entrance to use before someone could come in.

Director Warren Pena said many banks in the city do not have security guards.

Director Darrell Anderson said the board should utilize the security committee’s numbers and suggestions so they wouldn’t go back and forth.

He added that the committee originally suggested not getting a security guard.

Holmes said of the three proposals from Hometown Alarm of Port Arthur, Computer, Telephone, Fire, Security of Beaumont and Patriot Security of Nederland, Patriot had the closest to what the committee wants.

David Ball: 409-721-2427