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Lawmakers want more security at the Capitol

On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee gathered at the State Capitol to discuss the issue of safety in the building.

During the meeting the chairman of the committee, Senator Kurt Schaefer, said he doesn’t feel safe at the Capitol.

This comes just a little over a month into the 2015 session, but it’s not the first time the issue has come up.

The first day of session this year was a bit different than the past years.

Nearly 40 protesters showed up unannounced in response to the Ferguson incidents as lawmakers filled the chambers.

Now, senators are asking for more security at the Capitol.

“At minimum, I think there needs to be a higher presence. Just walking around on a daily basis in the building,” said Schaefer.

The topic came up as the Chief of Capitol Police was presenting his budget for the year.

That’s when Senator Schaefer stopped him and asked him if he thought the building was safe.

Schaefer then told Highway Patrol he noticed more security around the Governor since Ferguson and that’s a good enough reason to raise security at the Capitol.

Colonel Ronald Replogle said, “Should an emergency occur, I can assure you that we would empty out all of General Headquarters and Troop F and in a few minutes notice we could have several officers here from the Highway Patrol.”

Schaefer said he understands there is a jurisdiction issue, as the Cole County Sheriff’s Department would be the one to assist Capitol Police.

Schaefer said he hopes the different departments could work together and agree upon some kind of agreement on security at the Capitol.

Replogle told legislators Monday he has asked troopers to stop by the Capitol any time they are free to walk around the building and make sure everything is okay inside.

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