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Absolute Capitol Security

Here we go again, but this time security is prepared at the Capitol. Apparently, the chatter among extremists groups have been talking about possible plots of illicit activity in Washington, D.C.

Information received from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security was passed along to Capitol police about possible security risks. The warnings come as lawmakers planned to hold a vote on a police reform bill. Known as the George Floy Justice in Policing Act, the aim is supposedly to enforce accountability, among other points of contention. Thankfully, at the time of this writing, any disruption planned or otherwise didn’t materialize.

My point is that security of the capitol should remain at the highest level possible. Capitol police say they are “prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress and the Capitol complex.”

I wanted to know more, so I contacted my friend, Charlie Howell, who is the principal at Howell Design Group, and who will be presenting an April 14 webinar with me.

“The Capital is one of those elements where you have to blend security with the operation of the facility because it is a building of the people for the people,” Howell said. “The security program is required for this type of security blend into the operational parameters of the building because it will involve policies, procedures, and organizational structure, training, awareness and response factors.

Basically, you would have to build reactionary elements that are triggered by changing conditions. At a minimum, integrated access control and video surveillance with a complete control of the perimeter extents of the building, site and tunnels would be necessary. From there, it would include create landscaping elements that could stand into barricade lines at 50 feet and 100 feet from the building edge. All of these would need to feed into the security operations command center for monitoring of the changing conditions that trigger the stand up or stand down of additional security measures.

“As we saw in the news, there was an attempt to create a zig zag barrier line and hold persons at a specific distance from the building. Then, they retreated to the stairs, and then retreated into the building, and then ran,” Howell said. “All political views aside of the events of that day, I would say it shows the barricade lines without support from a holistic security program fall, when under pressure. A security program has all of the elements that integrate with each other to create reactions based on triggers which then solidify against the impending threat.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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