Capitol security measures to become permanent

May 30, 2017

State Capitol building, Bismarck
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Temporary security measures installed at the state Capitol for the 2017 Legislative session are becoming permanent.

Public access to the state Capitol was limited to the south and east entrances, and metal detectors were installed.

Those measures are being made permanent – and going forward, the only public access to the building will be the south entrance.

"It's much easier for security to screen through one central area than it is to monitor several different locations at one time," said Highway Patrol Lt. Michael Roark.

The metal detector, or magnetometers, will remain.

"Many other federal and state buildings use magnetometers and screening," Roark said. "Now we've caught up."

Roark said people have come through the Capitol magnetometers carrying weapons.

"Some of them are from people with concealed weapons permits, and some are not," Roark said. "We have to remind everyone, carrying dangerous weapons on the Capitol grounds has never been authorized. The magnetometers are there to make sure it doesn't happen."

Roark said the measures are there to keep the public safe.

"It's also for the safety of public employees," Roark said. "We have received overwhelming comments from people who support this."

The Legislature has also approved two new Capitol security positions.