CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Montgomery County Commission voted Monday night to ban the public from using devices like a smartphone to live stream their meetings.
Nearly the entire commission voted for the measure to pass. One commissioner has concerns.
"Unfortunately, I think we created a precedent of going down a road I don't think we should be going down," said Commissioner Joshua Beal.
Beal was the only vote against the ban.
"If we're going to limit social media and live streaming, I don't think we're being as open as we should be,” Beal said.
Beal said he wants transparency and for as many people to know what's happening in their community as possible. He said the live stream from someone's phone only helps.
Members of the media would be required to ask permission to live stream ahead of a commission meeting.
At Monday night's meeting, Sheriff John Fuson pushed for the ban.
"When they carry on recording areas of this building that may not make us safe, then that's a security concern that needs to be addressed," he said.
The sheriff released a written statement Tuesday:
“The safety of our citizens, public servants, and the places that they assemble is paramount. We have a fast growing and diverse community that deserves to be heard and to have a say in how our community grows, and I want to provide the safest arena possible for that to happen.
I have a duty to protect our community and I take that duty seriously. As threats to our community continue to evolve, I will continue to progressively pursue avenues to counter those threats.”
Many members of the commission also voiced safety concerns for the room and courthouse as the reasons for their vote.
As for getting information from the meetings to the community, the county does stream the meetings, though it's on a delay of several seconds. The meetings are kept on a YouTube page.
"There's always an issue with the government wanting to only allow themselves to do something and not let the general public do it," said Beal. "I'm afraid that we left ourselves in a situation where we're going to regret this situation later."