Hamburg Police Chief Johnny Oliver said last week that his department would be looking to increase security at city hall after an incident in which an armed felon entered the building.

Oliver told Hamburg City Council that the man in question had entered city hall looking to see Judge Reid Harrod.

Oliver said that he spoke to the man before he had the opportunity to see the judge, and upon discovering that the man was a convicted felon and that he was carrying two guns, Hamburg Police Department — whose office is in the same building as the city hall and the courtroom and court offices — disarmed and arrested him without incident. It is illegal for felons to carry firearms.

Oliver said that there are still some security issues that need to be worked out, and said city hall needs cameras, telling council that he would formulate a plan and bring it to them for approval.

Hamburg Mayor David Streeter said that city hall is looking for a security camera company that will provide them with a one-time payment option for five years of coverage with warranty included instead of having a contract where payments are made monthly. If the city acquires services and equipment in this manner, the funding can be taken from the American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover security rather than from the city’s funds. Such systems can be pricey, he said, and the city funds could be put toward some other need instead. 

Oliver also discussed a license plate recognition program that will be available through cameras the city is seeking to acquire.

License plate recognition software cannot only identify the plates of cars used in incidents that have already occurred, but also identify cars being used for crimes in progress. Officers can access that information and video in real time from their computers or phones, speeding up their response efficiency.

In other news grant writer Georgeanna Cossey said that after meeting in Lake Village with representatives of hospitals and other cities, she was inspired to find out more about the community center and gym in Lake Village. The gym is free to the public and was funded by piecing together several grants. Cossey said she is examining options for Hamburg to do something similar. 

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Hannah Morton appeared before the council seeking approval for the city to take over the base rate of operation costs for two electricity poles located on the square and primarily used by food vendor trucks. Council voted to have the city cover the base costs, which will amount to approximately $30 per month. Any additional costs incurred beyond the base rate will be covered by the Chamber of Commerce. 

Streeter said he wanted to clarify that the recent announcement about what the city can and cannot pick up regarding trash was just that—an announcement. Nothing about the city’s policies was changed since it was written in 1976. The reason the city cannot pick up anything outside of its defined parameters is simple, he said — the trucks and equipment are not designed to pick up large or otherwise unmanageable items. The mayor said some such items do not belong in the landfill anyway. 

Streeter came up with a solution, though. He went to several individuals in town and discussed the matter with them. They all provided him with contact information for people who can pick up such items; the information is available at city hall.

Streeter said that if a resident does not have the ability to dispose of a particular item, they can call one of the numbers and someone will come and remove the item for free.