Alder Amanda Hall
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Hall’s Blog
Chase Bank Security - Please Chime In With Your Thoughts
Chase Bank has kindly and diplomatically reached out to meet with me tomorrow evening about security measures at the Milwaukee Street branch. One main topic of our discussion will be the continued plans for an armed guard at the branch. This armed guard would be an off-duty Madison Police Department officer, for which Chase would cover the expense. I want to be sure that I have as much input from all of you as I can so I can best advocate for the neighborhood's interests and viewpoints.
One thing that current events have forced us to consider is how guns impact safety in all aspects of our lives. As we navigate how we respond to gun violence, there are a lot of pros and cons to having more armed guards to defend us, whether in our schools, or our neighborhood bank branches. This email would get impossibly long if I listed every single pro and con, but I'll try to get the main points out. I hope that we can unpack the bigger points of the discussion and that you can mull through everything and let me know where you come down on this.
A good number of our neighbors have reached out since the attempted robbery of about a month ago and shared that they feel greater sense of security knowing that there is a good guy/gal with a gun in a place where they bank. I take that seriously. Certainly feeling safe going about our neighborhood should be a basic expectation. If having an armed guard at Chase helps our neighbors feel safer, I definitely hear that. I understand the opinion of many that an armed guard is a deterrent to attempted robberies, and that a guard would almost never to need to actually fire their weapon.
I do wonder if an armed guard at this location truly makes us safer. I don't want to talk anyone out of their gut feeling on this because you know best what safety means for you. I am concerned that if there is one armed guard at the branch, that instead of one person trying to rob the bank without an actual weapon, as we saw frequently before now, that we might see a group of assailants, armed with powerful guns, attempt a robbery. We do an okay job setting up our officers with weapons, but we don't need to get into an arms race with would-be robbers. That would be terribly unsafe for everyone in the vicinity, not least our officers.
By the same token, I continue to be concerned with the possibility of gunfire in a residential area, regardless of who is firing the shots. There is a daycare just across the street, next to a senior care facility. Houses abut the bank property on the other 3 sides; some of our neighbors' living rooms are a couple of hundred feet from the bank lobby. MPD officers are highly trained on when to take a shot and would of course consider their surroundings as factors before firing their weapon. But there is no such thing as a perfect shot, and a bullet from a good guy's gun travels the same way as a bullet from a bad guy's gun. You know me, I'm not scared of much, but I would fear everyday that an attempted robbery and a stray bullet from either an assailant or even an officer would lead to tragedy in our district. While an armed guard, a highly trained MPD officer, would increase security in many ways, of course we must admit that more weapons equals more risk.
You might be asking, so what's the alternative? Without the armed guard, the bank was robbed several times, leaving traumatized employees, customers, and neighbors. We cannot continue to have that happen. So what would we ask of Chase to prevent robberies? Sorry to use a cliche, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Every bank has room for improvement when it comes to robbery deterrents. Oftentimes these deterrents are expensive or, in the case of the newest technology, may have some glitches. I understand each business has to weigh pros and cons and do cost benefit analyses to determine the best course for them. I know that there are several options for banks to deter robbery and I believe we could employ more of them here. We heard a few of them from a retired MPD officer at the Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association Meeting last week. If we deter robbery at our neighborhood bank, there wouldn't be a need for an armed guard and we could eliminate that particular risk.
So I really want to hear from you all, those of you who live right around the bank, or who God forbid have been through an armed robbery, or have owned guns, or who have a perspective that you want me to know. I'm truly not convinced that an armed guard keeps the neighborhood safer overall, but I defer to the neighborhood as experts in your own safety. Please hit reply and let me know what you'd like to see happen. While I have my thoughts on this, your thoughts on your safety matter most. I want to take your thoughts and requests with me to my meeting so that I can be sure I'm speaking with your voice.
Thank you all for weighing out the issues with me
Alder, District 3
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