Staff and visitors who enter three House office buildings through underground garages must pass through metal detectors starting Feb. 22, in a move designed to address a security vulnerability.
The Longworth, Cannon and Ford House office buildings will have newly staffed metal detectors and X-Ray belts in place to screen people and bags before they enter the buildings, according to a memo obtained by Roll Call that was sent to congressional staff Thursday.
Metal detectors for those using the garage that serves the Rayburn House Office Building will be installed in the fall in coordination with a garage renovation project there.
Existing metal detectors and manpower from Capitol Police inside House office buildings may be relocated to redistribute security screening so that all entrance points on the House side are served, according to the memo.
The initiative is meant to close a security loophole long known by law enforcement officials but one that was sped up after two incidents over four days in July 2014 involving a visitor and a staffer trying to enter the buildings with 9 mm handguns.
Authorized individuals entering garages near House office buildings are currently not screened before entering the building, unlike those coming in on the Senate side. Capitol Police officers require those entering House garages to show their badge and pop their trunks before entering.
“We understand that there may be some delays and inconvenience to staff during the transition,” the memo stated. “The safety and security of members, staff and visitors is of utmost importance to us.”
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