(The Center Square) – Calling-up the National Guard may protect the Wisconsin Capitol in the short term, but one state senator says there needs to be a more permanent fix.
Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, on Tuesday sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s legislative leaders pressing for more security, and a better Capitol security strategy.
“I am writing today to urge you to take security in the Wisconsin State Capitol seriously," Feyen wrote.
"The building has been closed to the public since March 2020 but now is the time to formulate and execute stronger security measures in our most treasured Wisconsin building,” Feyen said. “ I am urging you, as the leaders in both houses and the Governor, to make the State Capitol as secure as possible for all of those working and visiting.”
Feyen said the Capitol simply has too many open doors, more than 10, and doesn’t have any security checkpoints or or barriers.
Feyen said the need for enhanced security was proven just last week at the U.S. Capitol.
“In the wake of the Washington, D.C. unrest, the overtaking of the U.S. Capitol, and the FBI warnings that violence and unrest is possible at all 50 statehouses, now is the time to act!,” Feyen wrote. “We cannot wait until an elected official, an employee, or a visitor to Madison is hurt or killed before we take action.”
Gov. Evers on Monday activated the Wisconsin National Guard to protect the statehouse from potential protesters next week. Feyen said that’s fine, but added Wisconsin has leaned on the guard for a lot these past few months. He said Gov. Evers has called-on the guard for everything from security to coronavirus testing to working the polls on Election Day.
Feyen also said Gov. Evers vetoed a provision in the last state budget that would have assessed Capitol security.
“The time is now to harden up the security and provide a safe environment for all those that visit, have business in the capitol, or call this building their workplace,” Feyen said.