Ohio Statehouse Adds Metal Detectors, Bans Backpacks
Metal detectors have been installed at three entrances to the Ohio Statehouse as part of increased security measures.
Backpacks were also banned as part of the new security measures, reported Cleveland.com. Purses and small bags will continue to be searched by Ohio State Highway Patrol officers upon entry.
Statehouse employees, who will not have to go through the metal detectors, were notified of the changes in a memo from the Capital Square Review and Advisory Board, the panel that oversees Statehouse maintenance and operations. "This security upgrade is a proactive measure that provides for the safety of those who work in and visit the Ohio Statehouse," the memo read.
Luke Stedke, deputy director of communications for the Statehouse, said the new security measures were not a reaction to threats or a specific event but are part of an ongoing discussion about security. "This is an ongoing process and things may change in the future," Stedke said.
Stedke said the four Statehouse-owned metal detectors cost the board $41,008. Highway patrol is providing two other metal detectors, said Cleveland.com.
Firearms are not allowed in the Statehouse, per state law, but a 2012 law change allowed concealed carry licensees to leave them in vehicles parked in the garages beneath the capitol and the Riffe Center.
Before 2013, Statehouse visitors could freely enter and leave "the People's House," which hosts many public events in addition to housing the House and Senate chambers and the offices of state senators.
Lawmakers, Statehouse employees, lobbyists, and credentialed media were issued iD cards to allow entry without inspections and will not have to enter through the new metal detectors.
There are no metal detectors in the Riffe Center, where Kasich and state representatives have offices. But in September, turnstiles were installed there, requiring all visitors to obtain a temporary badge from security.