Oklahoma Ramps Up Security in Capitol Building
Oklahoma leaders announce new security measures for the Capitol, including guard stations and banning public access to stairwells.
- By Sydny Shepard
- Feb 13, 2019
Leaders in the Oklahoma House have decided to ramp up security in the state Capitol building by erecting guard stations in hallways, banning public access to stairwells and hiring ex-police officers licensed to carry a gun.
The increase in security was imposed by majority Republicans as a new session opened on Monday. House Speaker Charles McCall denied the measures were prompted by a two-week teacher walkout, which was peaceful and did not result in any arrests.
Instead, he said the security measures were enacted as a way to be proactive in ensuring the security and safety of the people who visit the Capitol.
McCall was able to confirm that at least one ex-police officer had been hired on as security for the Capitol building. The new House sergeant is "trained and experienced in identifying security vulnerabilities." He said limiting access to the stairwells would allow members to more easily access the chamber and that the guard stations outside the offices of the top two House leaders were to provide information to visitors.
The No. 2 House leader, Rep. Harold Wright, acknowledged the teacher walkout — which at times packed hallways and member offices with frustrated teachers — played a role in the decision.
"I think because of some of the issues that occurred last year, mainly to provide for a little more decorum in the House, that was part of the reason for it," said Wright.
Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.