Boroughs, Townships Consider Security Upgrades

LACKAWANNA COUNTY --  The shooting Tuesday at the Paradise Township Municipal Building has officials from townships and boroughs across our area taking a hard look at their own security and weighing public access with public safety.

Covington Township's offices are inside the old Moffatt Mansion near Moscow. It's open to the public Monday through Friday.

Covington's employees were feeling especially vulnerable after a resident of Paradise Township in Monroe County entered the municipal building there and killed a township worker.

Covington Township supervisor John Brostoski said their access to the public is essential, but also a risk.

"The accessibility is there and that's what makes it such a great form of government. By the same sense, there is this little bit of danger in there," Brostoski said.

The victim of the shooting in Monroe County, Michael Tripus, was a native of Covington Township. His death is hitting township workers in his hometown especially hard.

Workers for South Abington Township knew Tripus, too. Only a day after the shooting, the township manager was considering security upgrades to the township building.

"We're considering bulletproof glass for the windows that are just behind you because that's the access the public has. Aside from that, you just worry. You never know," manager David O'Neill said.

In the borough of Moscow, there have been security measures at the municipal building for years. The doors are locked and visitors have to ring a doorbell to be allowed in. Borough secretaries can see through a security camera who comes and who goes.

Borough and township officials Newswatch 16 talked to agree though there's only so much you can do. Where do you draw the line between access and safety?

"Our job is to be open to the public. That's why we're there, to help them, so we're always going to be accessible," Brostoski added.

"It's a scary thought. I feel very sorry for everybody up there, the family, the Tripus family. As a manager, you have to think, what could happen here?' O'Neill said.

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