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City-County Building Weapons Screening & Controlled Access

Policy Statement

In response to potential dangers to the safety of City, County and State staff who work in the City-County Building and for the safety of the public who conduct business in the building, the Madison Common Council and the Dane County Board of Supervisors have authorized a weapon screening program for the building and controlled access to various areas of the building.

The program will increase building security in a fiscally responsible manner. It will provide a deterrent to acts of violence by keeping dangerous weapons and other unauthorized items out of the building. The program is designed to avoid major inconvenience to staff and the public.


Prior to implementing screening, the County will conduct a public information campaign. In addition, signage will be provided at the entrances. City and County employees will receive written information about this policy, followed with questions and answer sessions. The information will also become part of the new employee orientation.

Weapon screening stations will be located at the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Wilson Street and Carroll Street entrances to the building on the following schedule:

Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • 7 am to 10 pm Monday through Thursday
  • 7 am to 5 pm Friday
Carroll Street
  • 7 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday
Wilson Street
  • 5 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday

Staffing at the stations will be provided by Dane County. Training for security staff will be provided by the Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, public Safety and Communication, City and County ADA Coordinators and security consultants. The security staff’s role will be to monitor walk-through magnetometers and x-ray imaging machines to screen the public for weapons and unauthorized items before allowing them access to the building.

Standard Operating Procedures

People who set off the alarm will be asked to empty their pockets of metal objects and to pass through again. If they pass through successfully, they may retrieve their belongings and proceed. If they do not pass through successfully, they will have a second opportunity to remove any metal that may set off the alarm and pass through again. People setting off the alarm the third time will be taken aside and a hand held screening device will be used to screen them. If they fail. This a pat down search will be conducted. If they fail this procedure, they may be denied access to the building.

Security staff will require that all hand bags, attaché’ cases, packages and boxes be sent through an x-ray imaging machine.

If any objects appear to be of an illegal nature, security staff will deny access to the person possessing those objects and notify Public Safety and Communications. If security staff cannot prevent individuals from entering the building without being screened, Public Safety and Communications will be notified.

Law Enforcement Response

The Madison Police Department is the primary responder in situations requiring the services of a sworn law enforcement officer. In these situations, security staff will notify Public Safety Communications. Public Safety Communications staff will dispatch MPD officers and will request that available bailiff’s respond. MPD’s Officer in Charge will be notified in the event that MPD officers and bailiffs are not immediately available.

Law Enforcement Screening

Uniformed Law Enforcement Personnel:

Law enforcement personnel wearing immediately recognizable uniforms will not be required to pass through a magnetometer screening device. Uniformed personnel, who are not immediately recognized or are not utilizing card access, will be required to produce a law enforcement ID card.

Non-Uniformed Law Enforcement Personnel:

Law enforcement personnel in civilian attire, who are armed and no utilizing card access, will not be required to enter a magnetometer screening device when properly identified with a law enforcement ID card.

All properly identified law enforcement personnel, whether on duty or off duty, will maintain control of their on/off duty weapon at all times. Officers who appear in court-related areas as a result of their own personnel involvement in a matter, not within the scope of their employment, should not be armed.

Dangerous Weapons/Unauthorized Items

The following is a partial list of items people are not allowed to carry into the City-County Building. Security staff will be authorized to use their discretion in disallowing items not included on this list:

  • guns, including pellet and BB guns
  • explosives
  • martial arts weapons
  • batons
  • mace
  • ammunition
  • electric weapons
  • knives
  • brass knuckles
  • pepper spray

All items considered to be illegal will be confiscated and Public Safety Communications will be notified by security staff that the article has been confiscated. Public Safety Communications will notify MPD who will then take possession of the confiscated item.

If people request entry with questionable articles such as hammers, box cutters and utility cutters, they will be asked their destination and the purpose for bringing in the object. These items will be allowed into the building at the discretion of the security staff.

People attempting to enter the building with unauthorized items that are not considered to be illegal will have three options:

  1. check the articles with the security staff and retrieve them upon exiting the building
  2. dispose of unauthorized items in barrels located at each station (objects in these barrels will not be returned)
  3. return unauthorized items to their personal vehicles and re-enter the building.


Delivery personnel will be screened and the materials being delivered will be visually checked. If a delivery requires several trips into the building, the delivery person may only be required to go through screening on the first trip at the discretion of the security staff.

People with Disabilities

Security staff will be instructed to insure that people with disabilities will be thoroughly screened while being sensitive to each person’s condition.

People approaching a screening station will be asked to walk through a magnetometer. If this is not possible, a hand-held detector search will be conducted. If neither of these options is possible, upon receiving permission from the person, a pat down search will be conducted by an attendant of the same gender. If the person does not permit a pat down search, access to the building will be denied. Hand carried items will be screened using standard operating procedures. Service animals will be visually inspected.

Special Procedures

People with Strollers or Child Carriers:

People with either strollers or child carriers will be screened by standard procedures. Children in this equipment will either walk through or be carried through by the person accompanying the child. If the person with the child cannot or prefers not to remove a child from the stroller or carrier, a pat down search will be conducted.

Sequestered Juries

Sequestered juries are the responsibility of the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and will be allowed to by-pass the system immediately. Security staff is to have no contact with the jurors. Any questions, should be directed to the Bailiff in charge.

TV Cameras

TV cameras used by major media outlets will be allowed to by-pass the system but will be visually checked by staff. Camera operators and all other media equipment will be screened through the system.

Detection of Potential Weapon

If the Security Staff while using the X-Ray Machine finds a potential weapon, the machine will be shutdown immediately with the item in question being held inside the machine. The machine will not be restarted until approval is received by Law Enforcement Staff. People entering the building while the X-Ray Machine shutdown will have their packages, etc. searched by hand on an interim basis.

Weapons Being Turned in to the Police Department or Sheriff’s Office

Weapons and other unauthorized items that are being turned over to the City Police or Sheriff’s Office will not be let into the building. If a person approaches a security station and states they have a weapon or what is considered an unauthorized item such as ammunition, they and the item will be detained at the station. The City OIC or Sheriff OIC will be called and informed that the person and item is at a station. They will come to the station to take possession of the weapon.

Inappropriate Statements

If inappropriate statements pertaining to weapons, bombs, etc. are made by people entering the building, they will receive a written statement saying that such statements are inappropriate and will not be tolerated by staff. No citations will be issued in any case.

Lost and Found Items

Items either left at the weapon screening stations or in the City-County Building will be held in the Facilities Management Department for a period of thirty days. After which they will be discarded.

Controlled Access

Employee By-Pass:

City and County employees will be issued proximity cards for use in a card access system. The system will be available at each of the three main entrances, Martin Luther King JR Blvd, Carroll Street and Wilson Street. If an employee does not have a card they will go through weapon screening.

Misuse of By-Pass Cards:

If a staff member is issued a by-pass card and they misuse the card by allowing others to use their card or allow others who are unauthorized to enter the building without going through screening, to enter on their card, the card will be confiscated by security staff and invalidated immediately. Another card will not be issued unless approved by the City-County Liaison Committee.

Garage Access:

Access to the garage and the elevator lobby at the garage level will have controlled access through card access and bar code. A separate bar code access system will be installed at the garage doors on Wilson Street. The bar code access sticker will be placed directly on a vehicle or on a separate holder. A closed circuit TV system with a signal unit will also be installed on the exterior of the garage. Monitors and door release switches will be installed elsewhere in the City-County Building. The entrance from the garage to the elevator lobby will be equipped with card access readers to allow entrance from the parking area to the public elevators. Authorized personnel will have card access to the elevators.

Dane County Facilities Management will be responsible for the programming and issuing of access cards and stickers. All requests for access cards and stickers including replacement of lost cards or modification of existing cards must be submitted in writing. Facilities Management has the approved request forms in Room GA-8 of the City County Building.

If either the City or County determines that there are other areas in the City-County Building which should have card access, funds for the equipment, installation and access cards will be provided by that unit of government.

For staff working after normal business hours and after dark, Dane County Ramp staff or Facilities Management staff (after midnight Monday through Thursday) will provide an escort from the City-County Building to the County Ramp only.

Ramp staff can be contacted at 575-9520. Facilities Management staff can be contacted through Public Safety Communication 255-2345.

Policy and Procedure Review

A suggestion box will be made available for employees and members of the public to provide comments and suggestions to the Security Staff Team as part of the on-going evaluation of weapons screening.

On a quarterly basis, the City-County Liaison Committee will review concerns, complaints and comments.

Revised: September 2, 2009
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