In the wake of the killing of five people by an angry citizen at a Kirkwood, Mo. city council meeting last week, Trustee Patrick O’Brien is calling for having a police officer present at all village board, committee and commission meetings. That move would be an interim step while village officials look into acquiring metal detector technology for use outside future meetings.
Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda, 69, remains in critical condition after he was shot twice in the head last week. Charles Lee Thornton also shot and killed two police officers, two council members and the public works director, and wounded a reporter. Police shot and killed Thornton at the scene.
“As a result of that tragedy, I came to find out that there are some municipalities and villages that have installed metal detectors at the rear or front entrance of council meetings,” O’Brien told fellow trustees at Monday’s board meeting.
“I think that might be something we need to look into, unfortunately,” said O’Brien. “However, in the interim, I’d like to ask the village administration to appoint a police officer to attend all the committee meetings and all the village board meetings, until we can come up with some kind of a security plan.”
O’Brien’s comments elicited no response Monday night. However, Trustee Steve Hoke, who serves as chairman of the village board’s police committee, suggested Monday that the move might be unnecessary.
“If Trustee O’Brien feels strongly about it, we should consider it,” Hoke said Tuesday. “However, at first impression, I think it might be an over-reaction to an emotional situation.”