BY PETER JONES
When an armed man with a hefty criminal record was caught rifling through a desk at Englewood Civic Center last month, City Manager Eric Keck was the employee who caught 30-year-old Daniel Rodriguez red-handed.
“He was up to no good. I don’t think he had any agenda other than a crime of opportunity,” Keck told a meeting of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce on March 7. “I’m still kind of shaken by it. I actually saw him pull out a gun and point it at one of our employees and then at me and then run out of the building.”
Rodriguez was identified by police Feb. 23, a day after the altercation, as the result of anonymous tips prompted by the release of surveillance photos. He was arrested on outstanding warrants and other criminal charges.
Keck said the city has revaluated security in the wake of the incident, but says the issue stems largely from the city office’s location in a building that was originally part of the former Cinderella City shopping mall and is adjacent Englewood’s light rail station.
“What we’re trying to ascertain is how can we still have an open civic center, but ensure we have adequate security as well,” the manager said.
The altercation was the culmination of other recent episodes, in which intruders have helped themselves to employees’ lunches in the breakroom. Drug-related incidents have also been reported in the restrooms of the city building, which houses the Englewood Library.
Although there has been talk of the city vacating what is considered prime real estate for another building, Keck said such proposals are on the backburner due to other priorities.
The city manager acknowledged the police staff, at least two of whom were in the room, noting the importance of last year’s successful $27 million bond issue that will allow Englewood to build a more secure and modern police headquarters.
“Thank goodness we have an awesome police department that was there very, very quickly,” Keck said.
2016 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |