Weekly Feature

2018-06-13 / Local News

Kearns addresses security concerns at county auto bureaus

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting an assessment of security at each of the county’s 11 auto bureau offices and mobile locations, according to Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns.

Kearns has also written to the Erie County Legislature, requesting that the appropriate committee consider and review the issue of security at local auto bureaus.

At County Hall and the numerous auto bureau offices open to the public, employees have direct contact with more than 750,000 customers Erie each year and must be prepared for any isolated event or threat, according to Kearns.

The Erie County Clerk’s Office has 97 employees who work at various locations outside of Old County Hall, which is secured by state court officers. Currently, only one of the county’s auto bureaus, 170 Pearl St., has security on staff for the entire day provided through the

Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Security is provided at the

Cheektowaga auto bureau location only through a third-party contractor. However, security is present only during Saturday hours of operation.

At the remaining nine locations, all occupied by lease or agreement with the county, employees and customers alike must rely on a response from a 911 call. These employees working at the local auto bureaus process an average of 50,000 transactions monthly, and Mickey Kearns, an average of

County Clerk 40,000 to

50,000 Erie

County residents enter Erie

County offices to do business. In all but one location, no security officer is available in the event of an emergency.

“Through talking with each of the employees working at the local auto bureaus, it became clear that a top concern is the lack of security at offices outside of downtown,” said Kearns. “I strongly believe that no one should go to work feeling unsettled in their work environment. The employees are dealing with high stress situations and are also handling financial transactions.”

According to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, security has responded to 115 complaints at the downtown auto bureau location through the last year. These complaints included suspicious person, disorderly person, assault, criminal mischief and served warrant.

In January, Kearns stated his intention to consider making blood pressure checks available at the seven county DMV offices.

He noted that he will look to work with the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo and other groups to provide health, fitness and nutrition information for customers to read while they wait to be helped.

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