News / Edmonton

Security disruption erupts at Edmonton city council

Aggressive man confronted city staff made his way to councillors.

A brief security disruption occurred at Edmonton council chambers Tuesday.

Metro File

A brief security disruption occurred at Edmonton council chambers Tuesday.

City staff were frantically alerting security in council chambers Tuesday morning after an aggressive man confronted them and then moved toward councillors.

During the altercation, the security officer was staring at councillors rather than the public, therefore causing staff to frantically wave him over.

One woman, in particular, followed the man to as he moved toward councillors. She appeared distraught.

A security guard later removed the man from city hall. 

The incident comes as a proposal to heighten security in council chambers is heating up. 

The proposal would see a glass barrier between councillors and the public, metal detectors and bag searches.

Council planned to debate that issue Tuesday, but later voted to postpone such discussions to committee early next year.

Dean Sydlowski, director of corporate security with the city, said officials did not call police over the incident. 

He said officials didn’t speak to the man prior to escorting him out of city hall. 

“It’s not a big issue,” Sydlowski said. “Security worked well and did the job they are there to do.”

Mayor Don Iveson told reporters it’s “dangerous” to weigh in on heightened security measures.

“That politicizes it,” he said. “I think it’s really got to be best left in the hands who have expertise in the area to comment on this.”

He said decisions on the issue must be evidence-based. 

It’s the second time council has postponed debate on increasing security measures. Earlier this month, councillors voted to have another go at the issue by making a once-private report public. 

According to that report, 11 city staff members say they’ve felt unsafe or threatened when attending or presenting at city council. That figure was determined after surveying 64 people. 

The report didn’t recall actual accounts of threatening events in council, though it did note the non-violent yet emotional taxi-protest. 

The report said buying four portable metal detectors would cost about $40,000. Estimated costs for the glass barrier would range from about $14,000 to $85,000, depending on which option is approved.

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