Statehouse Tightening Security, Closing Entrances

Judges have been asking for increased security at the statehouse since 1996. Now metal detectors and closed entrances are intended to do just that.

Eleven of the 13 entrances to the statehouse will close June 4, with metal detectors added to two others. A study group has been reviewing how to tighten security at the Statehouse for two years. Its conclusions are still a work in progress, and include exceptions.

Guns, explosives, knives, and chemical sprays will be banned. But judges and legislators will still be allowed to carry guns. A state law specifically allows judges to carry firearms. Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Edward Najam, a member of the counterterrorism task force, says judges have been asking for stepped-up security since 1996.

Brian Renner with the department of administration says screening standards will be looser than at airports or the city-county building. He says some small pocket knives may be allowed in, on a case-by-case basis. Officials are still discussing whether to follow the policy to the letter for elementary-school tour groups. Similar restrictions take effect at the neighboring Indiana government center buildings after January 1, 2008.

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