Tuesday, March 09, 2010

No metal detectors, x-rays in capitol security plans so far

From Mike Ward at the Austin Statesman:

Security at the Texas Capitol will be increased under a seven-step plan approved by the state’s top three leaders and disclosed this morning in a letter delivered to lawmakers.

In a letter to Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Gov., Rick Perry, Lt. Gov., David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus authorized the initial steps that include expanded bike patrols, the deployment of bomb-sniffing dogs, a mass notification system for Capitol workers in case of an emergency and new training programs for troopers who provide security at the statehouse.

Missing are the installation of metal detectors at Capitol entrances, an item that Perry has said he opposes. But the letter hints that additional, unspecified enhancements may be coming.

Ramped-up security at the Capitol has been an issue since a gunman in January fired several shots with a pistol outside the south entrance. No one was hurt, and the gunman — a 24-year-old man from Houston, — was quickly apprehended by troopers.

Legislative leaders immediately called for tighter security measures.

The letter, dated March 4, was the first announced move to increase security at the Capitol since the shooting.

I for one am thankful top state leadership have so-far resisted DPS director Steve McCraw's calls for airport-style security at the Texas capitol. Such measures wouldn't even have prevented the recent incident, which happened outside the building.

See related Grits posts:


Anonymous said...

Find this extremely amusing.

Less than 15 years ago, I toured the TexAss state capitol. I had at least three weapons on me. The legislature was not in session.

Also, found it highly amusing that while I could not smoke in public places anywhere in TexAss, I could smoke in the legislature. Also, they had spittoons. We were introduced to the head spittoon polisher. Now that is change.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yup, change you can believe in, baby!

They have since removed the spittoons or banned their use where they've been left for decoration, which I personally found regrettable.

OTOH, based merely on personal observation, it was probably necessary; back when chewing tobacco was more common, gentlemens' aim was generally better.