Tighter security begins Friday, Jan. 20, at County complex

RIVERSIDE – Beginning Friday, Jan. 20, visitors to the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside will undergo extra scrutiny – and experience a bit more inconvenience – before they’re admitted to the building, as the county tightens security.

“We ask for the public’s patience while we implement the new measures,” Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Tavaglione said. “The safety and security of our residents and employees is a great priority. Vigilance in the workplace is critical to providing a safe environment to do public business.”

The main entrance to the administrative complex, located at 4080 Lemon St., will have multiple screening procedures in place beginning Friday morning and extending indefinitely into the future.

All visitors will be required to pass through a metal detector, removing their belts, watches and other personal belongings prior to walk-throughs. Bags, briefcases and other carry items will also be subject to a search by
private security personnel, with a sheriff’s deputy standing by.

County employees will have to utilize barcode identification cards to bypass security.

The elevated screening process replaces the passive screening that went into effect about two weeks after the deadly terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino in December 2015. Between then and now, the county has posted several security guards at the CAC entranceway, but visitors generally haven’t been subject to a search.

Prior to that time, a deputy sometimes staffed a desk at the location, but people came and went uninterrupted.

After Friday, the security screening process will replicate measures long in effect at the nearby Riverside Hall of Justice and Riverside Historic Courthouse.

Shortly after the IRC attack, county Chief Executive Officer Jay Orr formed a security assessment committee to analyze what changes might be required to better protect the premises and workers.

The committee submitted a report to the Board of Supervisors under seal in May, citing concerns about the information being misused. At that time, the board authorized the Executive Office to spend $1.19 million to install additional layers of security at the CAC.

Fortification of the downtown facility includes a video surveillance system that will permit sheriff’s officials and other authorized parties to instantly view portions of the complex, according to Emergency Management Director Kim Saruwatari.

She told the board last year that other county buildings may be in line for similar security upgrades.

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