After the protests at the Nation’s Capitol Building a week ago, some cities and states have increased measures in their own Capitols in order to avoid a repeat of those events.
Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said they are working closely with federal, state and local partners on the best way to protect the Capitol. He said they also received a memo from the FBI and reviewed the information provided but at this time does not feel like Mississippi’s Capitol is in danger.
“Even based on that memo and the information we’ve been able to gather through intelligence, we’re not seeing any viable threats on our state Capitol,” said Tindell. “There might be chatter of folks that want to come and protest, and I served six years in state Legislature and there wasn’t a year that went by that we didn’t have somebody up there protesting.”
When asked, Capitol Police officers could not discuss the specific measures they are putting in place to ensure added security at the Capitol and Capitol Complex buildings.
“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,” according to the Department of Finance and Administration that maintain operations at the Capitol.
Tindell added that he respects Mississippians’ First Amendment rights to protest and encouraged individuals to exercise those peacefully.
Meetings between DPS and Capitol Police are ongoing as they work to secure the Capitol and make note of the dates that any suspected surge in activity could draw protestors to the building.
He said there have been no incidents in the state since the protests in D.C. last week. Tindell added that he was proud of the way Mississippi’s law enforcement community handled the Black Lives Matter protests that took place last summer, particularly the march in Jackson.
“We had MHP officers and MBI officers hand out water to the protesters, and here they were protesting law enforcement,” said Tindell. He said Mississippi’s officers have been trained well in de-escalation tactics as well as protecting the citizens’ rights to free speech.
The Capitol currently has officers in the building around the clock. They have recently added extra security measures at the entrances to scan bags as individuals enter, along with the long-standing metal detectors.