Miami-Dade County

Security threat briefly locks down Miami-Dade County Hall

Miami-Dade County Hall was locked down for about an hour Thursday during a security threat that coincided with the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The evacuation of the second and third floors of the building prompted the commission chairwoman to cancel meetings for the rest of the day. The evacuation occurred during a commission meeting on budget matters, and commissioners and their staff crowded the escalators leading to the lobby as security prepared to sweep the board chambers for explosives.

The elected officials joined about 50 people in the cordoned-off lobby at around 12:45 p.m. as officers walked in with a pair of police dogs. Nobody was asked to leave the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW First St.

Juan Perez, the county's deputy police director, said a vague threat regarding County Hall was delivered to a federal hot line, prompting the concern. He said Rebeca Sosa, chairwoman of the commission, asked police to search the chambers, which includes a spectator area, for possible hazards.

"The chairwoman wanted the chamber swept as a precaution," Perez said. "We agreed with her."

By 1 p.m., people were free to leave County Hall but not come back in. At 1:20 p.m., Sosa said all meetings for the day were canceled.

The lockdown was lifted by 1:40 p.m.