Metal Detectors, X-Rays Moving into State Capitol

Security changes in place before summer.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Security will be increased at the state Capitol in Austin.

    People visiting the Capitol building in Austin will have to go through metal detectors before the summer.

    On Tuesday, the state's Preservation Board approved a plan to beef up security at the landmark.

    The Texas Department of Public Safety came up with the plan, which includes installing metal detectors and X-ray machines at the four entrances within the next 45 days.

    Gov. Rick Perry, who sits on the board, cast the only vote against the plan, saying it went too far in restricting public access. "The safety of our citizens is very important, but the other side ... the access of our Capitol is about to be substantially restricted," Governor Perry said. "I think the public will be disappointed."

    DPS officials said they would not release specifics of the security plan, but it includes enhanced countersurveillance and rapid response teams, as well as a medical response team and bomb-detection dogs.

    The additional security is expected to cost $3 million.

    The decision came after a January incident where a man fired gunshots into the air on the south steps of the Capitol. Moments earlier, the man asked to see a Houston state representative who was not in the building at the time.

    There were no injuries, and DPS officers arrested the man moments after he opened fire.