BOISE – The Idaho attorney general’s office has turned on a security system to control access after several incidents, including the entrance of members of an armed militia group who had staged a rally on the Capitol steps.
The recently activated intercom and video system allows workers at the front desk to monitor who is trying to enter.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said it wasn’t an easy decision.
“But ultimately, there was a need to balance the open access the public has had to my office in the past with providing my staff a more secure workplace environment,” he said in a statement to the Idaho Statesman. The new security system won’t change “the level of engagement I’ve always maintained with the citizens of this state, lawmakers and others who interact with my office on a daily basis.”
Wasden’s spokesman, Todd Dvorak, said no single incident prompted the move. It’s “about ensuring a secure work environment for the staff here in the main office suite,” he said.
Weapons are not banned at the Capitol, and visitors have unrestricted access to public areas. The Capitol has security officers, and an Idaho state trooper is posted full time in the governor’s wing on the second floor.
In March, a militia group staged a rally on the Capitol steps, then went inside to the second floor of the Capitol rotunda to sing the National Anthem. Afterward, about a half-dozen men entered the attorney general’s offices wanting to speak with Wasden. Wasden wasn’t there and the men left.
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