ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Security at the Minnesota Capitol and surrounding buildings should be improved, said a report released Friday that avoided taking a position on the much debated issue of whether to add metal detectors.

Instead, a panel of lawmakers, officials and law enforcement officers recommended that Gov. Mark Dayton designate a cabinet-level security coordinator and the Legislature establish an advisory committee to monitor and respond to risks.

The Democratic governor gave full support to the recommendations and immediately assigned Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman to oversee Capitol security.

Dayton and GOP legislative leaders convened the panel in January after a mass shooting killed six and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a dozen others in Arizona. But security at the Capitol, state court headquarters and other nearby buildings has been a worry for years.

The legislative auditor warned of “significant security vulnerabilities” in a 2009 report that raised concern about the lack of weapons screening. Capitol visitors don’t have to go through metal detectors, but the building has numerous security cameras and armed personnel patrol the halls when the part-year Legislature is in session.

The latest report recommended that all or most of the funding for Capitol security come from the state’s general fund, instead of a current mix of general-fund dollars and costs paid through contracts with organizations in the Capitol complex. It said the state should pay to upgrade the tunnels under University Avenue during light-rail construction next year.

The report stepped gingerly around the metal detector issue, urging the advisory committee to look at permanent and portable metal detectors.

“There are unresolved questions about the need for weapons screening in the Capitol Complex,” it said. “These issues were beyond the scope of this committee.”

The panel also said lawmakers who have permits to carry concealed guns should be briefed on Capitol gun safety practices as part of legislator training or orientation. Another recommendation was to change the law to allow the State Patrol to extend temporary protection to state officials other than governors and governors-elect.

“This report underscores what we already know: improvements need to be made in Capitol security for the public,” said Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, who served on the panel.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (10)
  1. Goob says:

    sounds like they’re afraid of the future. Are they gonna pull a wisc. type deal? They are off to a good start already. I think they should forget about this and work on down sizing departments around the capital.

  2. Hilarious says:

    Dayton has always been a coward. Give him the guards or he’ll run in fear and shut the capitol down!!

  3. tom says:

    It had nothing to do with Dayton. I imagine you’ve always been an idiot. Must be a Tea Party member.

  4. Jim says:

    I don’t see Governor Dayton’s name mentioned anywhere in the article. It does however state, “a panel of lawmakers”. Idiot.

  5. Pete says:

    Hard news Jim.. It turns out you are the idiot. Gov. Mark Dayton’s name certainly is in the article.


  6. Murph says:

    A GOP panel no doubt.Jesse warned you about the “internment camps” and you still think they aren’t going to try to steal [your] money too! Oh well,just tune in to FOX News and watch Becky boy try to confuse you even more with his kindergarten blackboard routine.I suspect the round ups to begin as soon as they get their guards and other security thugs with those thigh high boots and skull and cross bone ensignia uniforms passed around! One colony,one vote! There is way to many GOP lawbreakers and no real lawmakers in Congress! Time for “less government ” to be interpreted correctly and not as how the GOP wants it to be interpreted! Get rid of them all and start over 1776 style!

  7. Ed says:

    Well it could use some better security thats for sure. What they have going now is little more than what you see at a local mall. But weapons screening might be a little over the top.

  8. Murph says:

    Maybe if they actually tried to help people they wouldn’t be so afraid of them.Imagine if you can getting your knuckles rapped by plastic or wooden rulers for days on end! Those teachers can be so cruel! Luckily many of them will not be able to finish their terms.They get into a safer line of business like alligator trapping or cobra catching!

  9. Citizen says:

    Love your posts, Murph! The best protection for all public officials is fairness and transparency in actions and law. That’s getting tough to find. That said, no system can protect anyone against the crazies in our midst. But, legislators think if you throw enough money at a problem, it can be solved. LOL.

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