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New Security Measures At State Capitol Complex

by Christine Stuart | Aug 29, 2014 4:29am
(12) Comments | Commenting has expired

Christine Stuart photo

Rep. Pam Sawyer tries out the new turnstiles in the LOB

(Updated 4:10 p.m.) The new security measures at the state Capitol complex went live Thursday morning to mixed reviews from lawmakers and employees.

The new measures, which include metal detectors, security vestibules, and swipe card technologies, were all employed Thursday for the first time.

As with the first day of any new technology there were some glitches. Namely the shadows being cast in the vestibule used by staff and lawmakers periodically detected more than one person inside the glass booth.

The technology only allows for one person to enter at a time, so the person was asked by an electronic voice to step outside the vestibule and wait 10 seconds before trying to reenter the building. The glass around the vestibule, which is not bulletproof, is scheduled to be tinted in the next few days to resolve the issue. Other staffers had problems getting through the door with their backpacks or boxes of paperwork. It’s unclear at the moment how that problem would be solved. 

The public and lobbyists now have to go through metal detectors which are located at the entrance of the Legislative Office Building and the west side of the state Capitol. However, once inside the building they can walk freely between the Capitol and the Legislative Office Building, which are connected by an underground concourse.

Rep. Pam Sawyer, R-Bolton, who is retiring after 22 years in the legislature, said she remembers when all the doors in the building were opened and there were no badges or cameras.

She tried out the new turnstiles Thursday, but commented that “it’s a sad day” when all these security measures become necessary.

Although metal detectors are a common security measure at the Capitol buildings in many states, they have rarely been used at the Connecticut Capitol complex. Capitol police temporarily installed two metal detectors in the Legislative Office Building in January 2013, when more that 2,000 people came to the building for a public hearing on gun control.

The Capitol police announced the new security measures this January, but work on the project didn’t get underway until after this year’s legislative session.

Capitol Police Officer Scott Driscoll said the first day went well.

“We haven’t heard of any issues,” Driscoll said.

But Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the true test of the new system will come when large crowds of people show up at the complex for a public hearing. He said he’s going to reserve judgment of the new system until then.

Legislative Management said the estimated cost of the enhanced security measures is around $600,000.

Christine Stuart photo

Metal detectors in the LOB

But security measures like the ones installed in Connecticut are not unusual in state Capitols around the country.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, there are metal detectors installed at 23 state Capitols, including those in New York and Massachusetts. Some state Capitols screen all visitors with the metal detectors, while some — like California — exempt state employees and legislators.

Prior to installing the ones in Connecticut, Capitol Police visited capitol buildings in Albany, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Trenton, New Jersey and Providence, Rhode Island.

Back in January information on deployment, protocols, and best practices were gathered on the trip and used by Connecticut Capitol Police to formulate their recommendations to legislative leaders, who accepted them.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Management chaired by outgoing Sen. President Donald Williams and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey never met this year to vote on the recommendations. In 2013, the committee met twice, but the security upgrades were never raised at either meeting.

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(12) Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 29, 2014  6:11am

Why do we need this? I thought that people are all loving and caring.

Seriously, isnt this a reflection of something very wrong in society that some have accepted, so rather than dealing with what has changed head on, they put up artificial barriers like this so they keep those issues outside for the rest of the world to deal with.

posted by: UpsideDown | August 29, 2014  7:41am

so the state has the ability to be proactive. Interesting that it can be proactive when it suits itself and not the residents.

posted by: Lady Jane | August 29, 2014  8:16am

And us peons are banned from the Skywalk, so now we have to go out in the snow and rain and freezing cold.

posted by: QuestionMark | August 29, 2014  10:13am

It’s almost as bad as trying to get on a passenger airliner flight, but it’s “no longer “In God We Trust” in the USA.

posted by: Noteworthy | August 29, 2014  11:11am

This is grossly unnecessary and a waste of money. The state cops and capitol cops are out of control. What’s next? Tanks at the door and armed guards patrolling the corridors with their fingers on the assault rifles strapped to their chests?

posted by: QuestionMark | August 29, 2014  6:15pm

We already lead the country in percapita debt and we did not need this costly $600,000 mistake. We need a change in leadeship on Election Day. We can’t keep spending money like it’s going out style. Stop the bleeding please.

posted by: Luther Weeks | August 30, 2014  7:25am

Luther Weeks

The “fun” will be on wintry days when there are lots of people descending at once.  In 2013 during the temporary system the wait was over an hour in the cold and rain.  If they had a second scanner on the cross over from the parking garage it would be a lot more of a service to the public.

posted by: QuestionMark | August 30, 2014  1:18pm

@Joebigjoe: Only toying with people’s money, “sock-to-them” Malloy administration make believe sense of of accomplishment
while adding to the number one state in “per capita indebtedness.” A paltry $600,000 in wasteful spending is peanuts to ” Tax and Spend Malloy.” Is there a businessman in the house? When will this insanity come to an end?

posted by: art vandelay | August 31, 2014  1:25am

art vandelay

I can understand the precautions especially after Newtown & the legislation that followed. Could it also be Malloy & the Democrats not wanting public participation on their progressive socialist agenda?  I agree it will make business at the LOB & Capitol much more difficult.  Hopefully a happy medium can be worked out for all.  Sad commentary on our country, but I guess it’s the sign of the times.

posted by: QuestionMark | September 1, 2014  11:45am

@art vandelay:  There is no happy medium about $600,000 in wasteful spending, on top of being the most most percapita indebted state in the counry. I call it adding fuel to the fire as being stupidity and callous disregard for our many flat-broke taxpayers. The Malloy leadership is dedicated to leave as much debt as possible for the incoming Foley administration.

posted by: art vandelay | September 2, 2014  10:28am

art vandelay

@QuestionMark,
Point well taken.

posted by: TheJerseyCynic | September 4, 2014  4:54am

notice how everything is ramping up - EVERYTHING????  especially the police state.  How can this be if violent crimes are actually going down?  It’s got to be something else….hmmm…..  could it be
Predictive Programming? 
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110726013942AATb91H

“Predictive programming is a subtle form of psychological conditioning provided by the media to acquaint the public with planned societal changes to be implemented by The Powers That Be.
If and when these changes are put through, the public will already be familiarised with them and will accept them as ‘natural progressions’: thus lessening any possible public resistance and commotion. Predictive programming therefore may be considered as a veiled form of preemptive mass manipulation or mind control.

Is it real?
Is this actually going on?
Are we all being manipulated on a level like this?

Who knows really.

It is an interesting thing to research all the same smile