Lawmakers Look At Security Measures Following Arizona Shooting - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Oklahoma Lawmakers Looking At Security Measures Following Arizona Shooting

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Despite this weekend's shooting in Tucson, Arizona, security officials at Monday's inauguration of Gov. Mary Fallin said extra security was added due to the historic nature and number of people at the event. Despite this weekend's shooting in Tucson, Arizona, security officials at Monday's inauguration of Gov. Mary Fallin said extra security was added due to the historic nature and number of people at the event.
SWAT team members were placed on top of the State Capitol building and other nearby government buildings to look out for suspicious activity during the inauguration. SWAT team members were placed on top of the State Capitol building and other nearby government buildings to look out for suspicious activity during the inauguration.

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Security has been on the minds of many after this weekend's tragic shooting in Arizona involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The incident has prompted lawmakers and enforcers to make some changes to future security measures.

During Monday's inauguration of Gov. Mary Fallin at the State Capitol, organizers said extra security had more to do with the historic nature and number of people present at the event rather than with this weekend's shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

Even so, the shooting has pushed up security and safety concerns for local lawmakers, officials and their constituents at planned events.

There were more than 50 state troopers present at Monday's inauguration of Oklahoma's first woman governor. There was also a SWAT team on top of the capitol and nearby state buildings watching for anything suspicious.

"This is just a major event for us. We get a lot of information and [intelligence] in so the [intelligence] that we have gotten in has actually increased our presence," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Pete Norwood.

Three of Oklahoma's U.S. Congressmen were in attendance at Governor Fallin's historic inauguration.

Congressman Tom Cole, R-District 4, and Dan Boren, D-District 2, had mixed opinions after the ceremony about what should be done for security concerns and the measures they currently take.

"We're gonna need some stepped up security because we've had some people arrested," Boren said. "It's a small fraction, most people there are good people, but every once in a while you get a person who is a little off."

Cole, meanwhile, said he doesn't see a need for changes in security.

"I think it would be a very bad idea quite frankly. The reality is most people are wonderful, they're supportive, they're protective. You want to have as much access to them and for them to be able to reach you as quickly and easily as possible," Cole said.

State House Majority Leader Dale DeWitt has been a state lawmaker for more than 10 years and said he's never been concerned about his security until the Arizona shootings.

"We're going to have to look at some security of some sort, but I have a very good district and I'm really not too concerned at this point. But it sure enlightened everybody and we'll have to look at it," DeWitt said.

DeWitt admitted that some lawmakers do receive threats but said that has not caused him to take extra precautions.

In the past, Congressmen Boren and Tom Coburn have called local law enforcement to provide security at events, and Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said lawmakers and officials can look to them in the future too.

"We have offered the resources of the sheriff's office in providing security at any of their events in Oklahoma County," said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

Sheriff Whetsel said he sent a letter Monday to all five Congressmen about offering extra security at any of their events in Oklahoma County and said it applies to any local or state official who wants the added security as well.

Because of this weekend's shooting, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is creating a dignitary protection unit. It will consist of 10 to 12 deputies or reserve members who will be specially trained for this task of offering security to lawmakers and officials at Oklahoma County events at no charge.

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