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Colorado Tragedy Raises Public Security Questions

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(Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In a post-9/11 America, heightened security is the new normal, and metal detectors and checkpoints are commonplace in government buildings like the Allegheny County Courthouse.

But questions arise in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., tragedy – should their use be expanded to all public places or does security have it limits?

“It does have its limits,” said Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Mike Huss. “If you keep hardening targets, where does it end? Every restaurant, every theater, every public place.”

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Local law enforcement says it can’t be everywhere nor should it be, lest we become like a military state and lose our way of life as a free and open society.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt says the public has limited patience for security checkpoints and doesn’t want them expanded to all places of public gathering.

And in providing protection, law enforcement must be careful not to impede personal freedoms.

“We always have to keep in mind people’s civil and constitutional rights,” said Moffatt. “We don’t want to trample on people’s rights at the expense of security. It’s a very fine line that the officers walk every day.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald agrees, but says unfortunately, individual freedom extends to those who would use it to do harm to others.

“It really is the price of freedom,” added Fitzgerald.

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