Darlington Police Department plans security changes after theft

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The Darlington Police Chief estimates it will take more than $20,000 to upgrade security at the city complex, which houses the police department, courtroom, and fire rescue.

It’s been one week since the Darlington Police Department held a press conference about multiple items being stolen from the department, and now the chief of police is making changes to make the building safer.

When anyone enters the building, they’ll now be required to sign-in and wear a visitor’s pass, in addition to being escorted to their destination within the building. Police Chief Danny Watson says those measures are the new norm at the city complex.

“All the camera systems, access control, talking about changing all the locks to all of the buildings, talking about alarm systems installed,” describes Chief Watson of the future changes.

The new security cameras will be installed this week, confirms the chief.

“Of course we did immediately make some changes with our lock and all that kind of stuff,” Chief Watson says of the department’s move after several things were stolen. “But in addition to that, we looked at what can we do to better secure ourselves.”

Chief Watson says the city is receiving bids for a new computer automated access system.

“How do we limit access to people coming in and coming out of our buildings, being if they were hired or they left,” Chief Watson questions.

While Chief Watson would not comment on how the thief got into the department to steal the items, the department will have alarms installed and restricted areas will be implemented in certain parts of the building.

“Ordinarily, you would not do that, as far as limiting access, because you want it to be an open and friendly environment,” describes Chief Watson. “So people can come and go as they need to. But whenever you have an issue where something happens, you really have to go back and circle the wagon, if you will, say, ‘okay this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to put as tight of security as we can.’”

Chief Watson would not reveal what was stolen from the department, for fear of hurting the investigation, but he says SLED and ATF are helping with the investigation.

The $20,000 price tag for the security upgrades is just an estimate. Once the final cost is determined, Chief Watson says the money will either come from the city or police budget.