New security measures debut at state Capitol in Pierre

Capitol access pass
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Visitors entering the sate Capitol in Pierre Monday morning are being greeted by a host of new security measures now in place.

South Dakota Highway Patrol Officers now stand guard at a formal screening room located just off the Capitol north entrance, according to the South Dakota Broadcasters Association. As of 7 a.m. all visitors entering the Capitol must first be screened by Troopers and submit to having bags and other materials examined and x-rayed.

State employees have been issued security cards which allow access to the building, and provisions have been made for non-state employees who regularly work in the Capitol, such as lobbyists and the media.

As the Capitol Building opened to the public this morning at 7 a.m. there were no delays in getting inside and the entire security screening process took less than two minutes. Those who had applied for Capitol Access Passes were being issued personalized ‘gold cards’ to speed up the process further.

Officials say how the new procedure will impact large events and the many tour buses of visitors that travel to the Capitol during session is still a work in progress and changes will be made as necessary.

A new law allowing the concealed carry of firearms inside the state Capitol was implemented in July 2019. Citizens wishing to carry a concealed firearm while at the Capitol must notify the State Highway Patrol or the Capitol security detail 24 hours in advance.