Punta Gorda mulls $135K security upgrades for city buildings

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. City leaders are considering security upgrades and say a man repeatedly harassed them at city hall.

“It alerted us to some areas where we need to beef up,” City Manager Howard Kunik said. “We need to make sure our employees have a safe working environment.”

Ian McGuire, 27, of the 3300 block of Westlund Terrace in Port Charlotte, was issued a trespassing citation and ordered not to return to city hall. McGuire is accused of following city officials as they conducted day-to-day business and recording them for videos he posted to a YouTube channel.

McGuire contends in one of his videos that no expectation of privacy should exist in a public building. Kunik disagrees.

“You just can’t walk into somebody’s office and start filming and recording them without their consent,” Kunik said.

City Council will consider a proposal Wednesday to spend an estimated $135,000 over a three- to four-year period to improve security at city hall and other city buildings. Panic buttons, new doors, surveillance cameras and other methods to restrict public access are on the table, though metal detectors aren’t.

“When you come into city hall, public works, utilities, we want it to be inviting,” Kunik said, “but at the same time we have to measure that with improving employee safety just in case something happens.”

McGuire has been arrested in the past on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

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