Was alleged Capitol intruder's stunt a call for pot legalization?
Security questions raised following Tuesday's arrest
Blair said Capitol Security and the Utah Department of Public Safety plan to meet with the state Capitol stakeholders to discuss the incident and whether there should be increased security. The challenge, he said, is to not make the building feel restrictive to the general public.
"The last thing that we want is to not be inviting to the public," he said. "This (incident) will be discussed. And we'll look at this vulnerability and see if there's a solution we can come up with that will work within the balances of what we're trying to provide — safety and accessibility to a state building."
Trotta said that a "perfect storm" of events unfolded on Tuesday. When the Capitol was renovated several years ago, the steps were built at a steeper angle as a security measure, designed to make a vehicle either bottom-out or be unable to make the climb.
"It was just the perfect-sized truck with the right amount of clearance to do what it did," he said.
Several Utah lawmakers told the Deseret News on Wednesday that they don't believe Tuesday's incident calls for immediate changes.
"We don't need to add anything more," said Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield. "I don't see that we need to do anything other than make sure large vehicles can't go up the steps."
Oda said there was nothing going on at the Capitol at the time of the incident. The governor was at a function in Ogden and there were no interim committee meetings being held. If a similar incident had happened during a busier time, then maybe security would need to be looked at, he said.
"For the most part, we don't have that problem. I think the main thing is to make sure a big vehicle like that can't drive up the steps," he said. "You're never going to stop an ATV or a motorcycle or something of that nature, so the main thing is just a large vehicle."
Trotta would not go into specifics about Capitol security. He said Wednesday that Capitol security does have different staffing on days that the Legislature is in session. Even with the Legislature out of session, if the governor had been in his office Tuesday, Trotta said the incident would have been handled differently.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said there needs to be a balance between security and accessibility to the public.
"I think the real question is, 'What is the balance?' Because the Capitol is the people's house. And it's important that the people have free and unfettered access to their house," he said.
There are different types of security at each state capitol building around the nation, Bramble said. Increased security measures were discussed when the Utah Capitol underwent its renovation about six years ago, he said.
But adding increased security, such as metal detectors at all the doors, "tends to impede the ability of the average citizen to contact their legislator," he said. "We have a very active, passive security system at the Capitol."
Trotta said that because those with concealed weapon permits are allowed to carry their guns on Capitol grounds and even inside the Capitol, "We have chosen that metal detectors aren't any good. Our laws say you can have guns."
Many of the security measures implemented with the Capitol renovation are things that aren't visible to the public, such as back hallways that lawmakers can use that are inaccessible to the public and a bunker in the basement for the governor, Bramble said.
The biggest question, he said, is knowing where to draw the line.
"That may change over time, given changes in society. But as an elected official, I think it's critical that the average citizen have access to their own house, their own Capitol."
Bramble said there is an internal email system at the Capitol to alert people of danger, but not a public address system.
"We're always looking for ways that we can implement better use of technology or better use of communication to make sure if there is a threat, we get that information out," he said.
- Precedents — and exceptions — to...
- Woman dies, husband critically injured in...
- 9 things I wish I had known before my mission
- Small group of Ordain Women supporters gather...
- The truth about addiction
- Man injured in police shooting identified
- Missing 18-month-old Layton boy found...
- 'Teacherpreneur,' a new role in the world of...
- Hatch calls shutting down government... 68
- Chaffetz expected to announce he's... 49
- New Medicaid expansion plan unveiled to... 27
- Is convicted killer innocent? Group... 24
- Gun control laws won't stop mass... 24
- Herbert, other governors slam federal... 20
- Woman said she felt protected in ordeal... 19
- Chris Stewart endorses presidential... 18