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IF police may increase security for council meetings

Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride is thinking about stepping up security after a deadly shooting at a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania on Monday evening. Idaho Falls city council members say they’re not worried, but they’re on high alert.

“I just heard the news this morning, and my first reaction was I’m glad I live in Idaho Falls,” said president of the council Ida Hardcastle. Hardcastle has been with the council for 20 years.

“I have never once feared for my life,” she said.

She also said she knows hot button issues can cause heated debates.

“I can think of a couple of times when we’ve had disrupted people in the audience and they wouldn’t stop heckling or calling out. They had to be escorted out”, Hardcastle said. During heated moments, the Idaho Falls Police Chief is the one doing the escorting. “If somebody were to come in and commit a violent act the chief of police will be there to be the first line of defense,” said McBride.

McBride said he attends every meeting and always carries a gun. Sometimes he is dressed in uniform.

“I try to sit strategically so I can see what’s going on in the room. Instead of just sitting in the back of the room, I sit in other locations to try to keep an eye on everything that’s going on,” McBride said.

McBride also said police chiefs have always attended these meetings as division directors.

Rexburg City Mayor Rich Woodland said police officers also attend every council meeting in the city.

In Rexburg, there have been two cases of people who had to be escorted out of meetings. No violent situations have ever been reported in Eastern Idaho.

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