JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An increased law enforcement presence around Mississippi’s State Capitol after a bulletin issued by the FBI earlier this week warned of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitols.
The State Fire Marshall’s officers took a K-9 through a sweep of the building Thursday and members said they believe the right safety measures are in place.
“There’s an old phrase that forewarned is forearmed and we are forewarned and we are forearmed,” said Sen. John Horhn, who is being told there are other reinforcements that aren’t as visible.
“We know that we have SWAT teams and sharpshooters on standby,” Horhn noted. “There’s an increased presence from the Department of Public Safety.”
Some House members admit the FBI bulletin was cause for concern.
“It did raise kind of a fear factor of where we work and what we do and, of course, we’re seeing the national news now it does kind of… little uneasy feeling coming to work but I feel safe here,” explained Rep. Bubba Carpenter. “I feel very safe here and I feel like we’ve got the extra protections that’s being added.”
“The unknown of what we would do and how we would do it and you can’t really prepare for that because you don’t know where the activity’s going to be,” added Rep. Donnie Scoggin.
Senator Chris McDaniel understands any preparations, but doesn’t think they’ll be needed.
“I don’t think we’re going to see any problems here,” said Sen. McDaniel. “I really don’t. I sincerely believe things are going to be okay. Now, with that being said, I completely understand the anger. I really do, from both sides of the equation. But the key is to recognize, as Mississippians, that we can dissent and we can protest peacefully. That’s the key.”
Senate minority leader Derrick Simmons says he’s re-thought his safety as a member for the first time in his nine years as a senator.
“As a member, you do kind of, like, want more than just word-of-mouth about your security and family members that would really want more than just word-of-mouth on their loved one who is a legislator coming to this building,” said Senator Simmons.
Capitol Police fall under the umbrella of the Department of Finance and Administration. DFA sent this statement: “The Office of Capitol Police is aware of the possibility of protests. Neither the Department of Finance and Administration nor the Office of Capitol Police is able to discuss specific confidential protocols or security measures.”