Capitol security gets new test on Wednesday

Long lines formed on January 28, 2013 when the Capitol used temporary metal detectors before a public hearing on gun control.

CT MIRROR

Long lines formed on January 28, 2013 when the Capitol used temporary metal detectors before a public hearing on gun control.

The state Capitol complex’s security system, which was activated after the 2014 session, will get its first serious test Wednesday when hundreds of visitors arrive for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s inauguration and the opening of the 2015 General Assembly session.

For the Capitol police department, that means a full contingent of about 30 officers will be on hand to ensure most visitors enter properly and safely through just two designated entrances.

And for visitors who haven’t been to the Capitol or Legislative Office Building since metal detectors were installed last fall, it could mean entering and leaving will take a little longer.

“This is really not a new thing,” police department Public Information Officer Scott Driscoll said. “These are (two more) state buildings with metal detectors in place.

“They have been around for a long time,” for example, in state court buildings, he noted.

Still, it could be a new experience for many visitors to the Capitol and LOB and “every available officer will be working” to assist visitors, Driscoll said.

Visitors may wish to plan a few extra minutes to enter the Capitol or LOB, he said. But he added that is due more to the fact that parking is limited in the LOB garage and the inauguration and opening day of the session usually draw many attendees.

“Who knows how many people we will get?” Driscoll said.

The general public may enter the Capitol only through the handicapped-accessible entrance on the west side. Entrance to the LOB is on that building’s west side on the ground level.

Visitors at either entrance must proceed through metal detectors, and coats and bags are subject to search.

Driscoll reminded visitors that no weapons of any kind are allowed in either building. Personal-sized dispensers of pepper spray will not be confiscated, but are subject to search, he added.

“Though Capitol staff had some difficulties in the first few months with security doors designated for staff, Driscoll said “they have been up to speed and working well” recently.

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