The Broadening Landscape of Protecting Legislative Bodies
Legislators in state and federal governments have been back at their respective capitol complexes for a couple of weeks. It is a busy legislative season and with the majority of COVID-19 restrictions either relaxed or completely repealed, legislators are back in person on a regular basis. With this in mind, we recently analyzed emergency statistics to predict safety trends of 2023. All those potential trends will touch legislators in one way or another politically, but it is important to elaborate on how the approach to the safety of legislators themselves has drastically changed and deserving of its own focus.
As we highlighted in those 2023 safety trends, political radicalization movements have been on a drastic rise in the last five years. These concerns were elevated after the events of January 6th, 2021, but the level of threats toward legislators has not slowed. Just last month, it was reported that over 7,000 threats against legislators were investigated by authorities. Over this time, researchers looking into rates of political violence continue to call for the implementation of violence prevention strategies. This phenomenon is not just subject to federal legislators. After the events of January 6th, many state capitols have found there are significant security holes. In identifying these risks, states have begun to invest more into capitol protection. Here are a couple of examples:
- Oregon: Their security planning in regard to “state critical infrastructure” is set to “all hazards approach” as those locations are at the highest risk
- California: Spent $19 million in 2021 to increase security around the capitol complex, including physical, personnel, and other strategic measures.
- Illinois: Included in their major state complex upgrades and construction, safety and security are a top priority.
These cases are a great start, but more resources into preparation and response are still in critical need for capitol complexes going forward. Protecting state capitols is not just about the legislators and staff, but the communities at large. State complexes are not in isolation. Installing a comprehensive system surrounding emergency preparedness and response is a key issue nationwide, but not all capitols are alike. Therefore, any initiative involves all key stakeholders and responding personnel to address situations like these as they unfold, allowing them the resources needed to reduce response time and improve response accuracy, improving the safety of all those affected.
At Rave Mobile Safety, we have created a vast amount of solutions for communities large and small. In a post from 2021, we quickly outline what improvements are needed in soft targets and many of those recommendations are applicable here as well. We would encourage you to read over those recommendations. However, we have also put together a dedicated guide for state capitol protection. It is important to highlight the key features we considered in formulating enhancements to safety planning at state capitols:
- Inform all the right people instantly
- Help everyone take the right actions
- Bring responders on-scene quicker
- Support technology and agency interoperability
- Ensure compliance with state regulations
Rave Mobile Safety is committed to helping state and federal agencies protect their people. Our communication and incident management solutions are easy to use and integrate seamlessly with existing alarm infrastructure. For more details on our prebuilt solutions or customizable communication tools, contact our team.