Vandalism against Supt. Luna won't change Statehouse security

Credit: KTVB

Inside the rotunda of the Idaho Capitol.

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on February 16, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 1:46 AM

BOISE -- Wednesday was 'Buy Idaho Day' at the Statehouse, where dozens of local companies showed off their products to hundreds of people who stopped by the Capitol building.

It is not what you might expect to see one day after the superintendent of public instruction was the victim of vandalism.

The Idaho Capitol is a place to find hundreds of lawmakers, government officials and visitors on a daily basis. You might think that security would be heightened after the events involving Tom Luna, but that is just not the case.

"It's just a good feeling to be able to walk in freely and not have to go through the metal detectors," said Barbara Smith, who was visiting the Capitol on Wednesday. "I hope it doesn't change."

We talked to people in charge of the security and they said the incidents involving Luna were unfortunate, but also isolated. So, no changes will be made to security at the Capitol.

"Security's not the Idaho way," said Gov. Butch Otter. "We're all Idahoans. We all want what we think, in our own minds, is best for the state. And I would hope that we would engage in that kind of conversation, rather than those kinds of actions."

"I think that's one of the real high points of the Idaho Legislature, is that people have access," said Rep. JoAn Wood, R - Rigby. "Our security people here have been well-trained. We feel like we're very well taken care of."

Wood says she and her family have been threatened before. But she never felt unsafe at the Statehouse, and believes the openness of this building is unique and valuable.

"Idaho is a wonderful free state, yet," said Wood. "We are very blessed to be able to work in this building, and to represent the people here. So, we feel we can disagree without feeling too threatened about it."

Just because no new security measures are being taken, and there's no metal detectors, doesn't mean that there isn't a constant security presence at the Statehouse. That includes troopers from the Idaho State Police, who provide specific security for the lawmakers themselves.

Wood says she remembers a time when there was a metal detector at the Capitol, but she says it was removed because there was little need for it.

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