Is Albemarle County Posing A Security Threat To Its Citizens?

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

Surfing the web through one search engine has uncovered a gap in security for one area government building. Could the security of you, and those around you be jeopardized with the click of a mouse?

The Albemarle County Office Building is probably the most prominent government building in Albemarle County. While its security isn't as tight as the courts in our area, officials have taken a step in the right direction, by placing cement barricades near its entrance. Still, there's an opportunity for criminals to peek inside, without even walking in.

"We spent a lot of time looking at security issues in the building, and making sure that we're addressing them. For example, putting some barricades outside to protect against vehicular intrusion, locking doors that previously had been open to the public", said Lee Catlin, a spokesperson for Albemarle County.

However, we were able to find the building's floor plans online. There is a drawing for each of the County Office Building's four floors.

Albemarle County has been posting the entire layout of those floors to a website for at least five years. This could be compromising the security of every department located at 401 McIntire Road.

Catlin commented though, "They're very general in nature. They do not identify where any specific room, office, or person is located. They are intended to give people a general sense of where things are located."

The county also puts the word out for bids which sometimes include security services. With a click of the mouse, key information relating to the operating budget, employee salaries, and specifics for personnel on duty at any given time was available online. So, why is Albemarle County disclosing all this information online, more than three years after the attacks of September 11th?

"If we ever had a reason to believe that they might compromise the security of employees, or if we would rise to a higher level of alert, we'd certainly look to see if the right things were going onto the website", said Catlin.

Nonetheless, Catlin attests that she and her colleagues are vigilant, and are often evaluating the county's security. In fact, they're working on plans right now to determine if these items should continue to be posted on the internet while sticking to their goal.

"We want to keep the county office building operating on an open-door policy, and not create a fortress where our community would feel isolated, or restricted," Catlin said.

DISCLAIMER: This station chose not to say the specific site, or show their web addresses in order to keep any potential wrong-doers from gaining even more access into the county's security plan.

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