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Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to install gun-detecting devices

The hall's management hopes the new security measure will help give patrons some peace of mind...
The hall's management hopes the new security measure will help give patrons some peace of mind as they head to the theater.(Shane Battis)
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 1:25 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is beefing up its security.

The Sarasota City Commissioners approved spending for a new security system that can detect guns at the theater’s entrance.

The devices are touch-free scanners. Guests will simply walk past them and security will be alerted if a gun is detected among them.

Mary Bensel, the hall’s executive director, said the new addition is worth it to give theater-goers some peace of mind.

“I think it’s necessary in today’s day and age,” Bensel said. “The last thing we would ever want to see is for an active shooter event here at the theater. We try to do everything we can to make this a safe environment for everyone.”

The security contract will cost about $217,000 over a four-year period, and it’s all covered by the hall’s grant money.

Management expects the system to be up and running sometime in January.

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