Those who go to the Idaho Capitol this year will notice more law enforcement officers than in the past as part of a security plan updated in the wake of last August’s special session.
“For that goal that everybody feels safe and comfortable and able to exercise their constitutional rights, we will have an increased presence of uniformed state troopers at the capitol,” said Idaho State Police Colonel Kedrick Wills.
In December, Idaho’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved $350,000 to pay for eight additional state troopers to monitor the statehouse.
Boise Police are available to offer backup if needed.
But when asked why a mob of people were not arrested for pushing past state troopers during August’s special session, unlike LGBTQ demonstrators who blocked access to the Senate Chambers in 2015, Wills said they’re not comparable situations.
“I know that people like to liken those, but those protests looked very, very different in nature,” he said. “What we do with every demonstration that we’re involved with down there is we try to take that demonstration on what’s going on at that time with the merits that are going on there.”
After shoving their way into the House gallery, shattering a glass door in the process, the mob then tore down signs blocking off chairs to promote physical distancing and gridlocked legislative committee hearings.
Four people were ultimately charged with trespassing during the special session, which were not related to the initial clash with police.
Emily Lowe, a spokeswoman for the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, said in a statement, “After an extensive review of the Idaho State Police investigation, including all of the video footage, there are no additional charges the Ada County Prosecutor's Office can charge and prove beyond a reasonable doubt at this time.”
State officials updated the Idaho Capitol’s security plan afterwards.
Wills says they don’t expect any disruptions during the 2021 session, despite last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
State officials say the Idaho Capitol’s safety plan has not been updated in light of those events.
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