ACYA proposes metal detector at town gym

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

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AHOSKIE – In an effort to safeguard those using the facility, especially children, the Board of Directors of the Ahoskie Community & Youth Academy (ACYA) Recreation building have asked the Ahoskie Town Council to consider installing a metal detector at the front entrance.

ACYA Director Desmond “Cowboy” Smith made the request at the Nov. 9 meeting of the Town Council, referencing a written proposal the ACYA Board sent to town officials.

“There’s been shootings in our town and with our youth basketball league coming up, we would feel much safer, the kids would feel safe with a metal detector when you enter the front door,” Smith stressed.

“We’re not saying the gym is a dangerous place,” he continued. “What we are saying is that the times are changing, our community isn’t the same as it was 10 to 15 years ago. There’s too much violence all over and if we can prevent any type of weapons from entering the gym, then we can hopefully prevent any violence from happening there.”

Smith said the proposal is for a walk-thru metal detector, much like the one now in use at the main entrance of the Hertford County Courthouse. He added that the cost is approximately $4,500.

“I appreciate ya’ll recognizing such a need to protect the safety of those using the ACYA gym,” said Ahoskie Mayor Weyling White. “I feel that we can support such a request.”

Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said he would look at the budget to see where the money could be appropriated to fill the request.

“I would like to see a written policy from the AYCA Board that addresses how the use of this metal detector will be enforced, who will enforce it, and what happens if items/weapons are found,” McDuffie said. “We need to have a clear agenda of all this before the metal detector is put into use.”

He suggested that the AYCA Board members to ask other governmental entities – such as Hertford County officials – about their policies regarding the use of metal detectors.

Smith said practice sessions begin Nov. 22 for the youth basketball season that runs until the end of March. He also noted other upcoming events on the AYCA schedule, to include adult basketball leagues, basketball camps, and cheerleading/dance camps for young girls.

“This year we are also implementing other activities to include those for our senior citizens as we plan to hold spade tournaments, Bingo, and arts and crafts,” Smith concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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