Walk-through metal de­tec­tor at Leg­isla­tive Build­ing

Metal de­tec­tor in place, but will not be op­er­a­tional when ses­sion starts Oct. 25

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - BARB PACHOLIK bpa­cho­lik@post­media.com

Saskatchewan’s mar­ble palace has a new arch­way — a walk-through metal de­tec­tor — as stepped-up se­cu­rity comes to the prov­ince’s Leg­isla­tive Build­ing.

Sergeant-at-arms Terry Quinn said Thurs­day that while the screen­ing de­vice is now in place near the front en­trance, it will still take some time for train­ing and get­ting per­son­nel in place be­fore the $10,000 piece of equip­ment be­comes op­er­a­tional. That will hap­pen shortly, although not be­fore the new leg­isla­tive ses­sion starts Oct. 25.

The se­cu­rity mea­sures will then be rolled out slowly, Quinn said. “Small steps at a time.”

The de­vice is iden­ti­cal to the screen­ing at the prov­ince’s court­houses and air­ports.

“You empty your pock­ets, and you walk through,” Quinn said.

For two decades, Quinn’s pre­de­ces­sor in the job, Pa­trick Shaw, called for the in­stal­la­tion of metal de­tec­tors. Con­cerns around se­cu­rity were fur­ther height­ened af­ter a shoot­ing on Par­lia­ment Hill Oct. 22, 2014. A re­port was com­mis­sioned af­ter that to as­sess the Saskatchewan Leg­isla­tive Build­ing’s se­cu­rity needs, but a costly list of rec­om­men­da­tions has been tem­pered by aus­ter­ity mea­sures. The re­view did re­sult in up­grades of the build­ing’s sur­veil­lance sys­tem in 2015.

Quinn, a re­tired RCMP of­fi­cer ap­pointed to the job in July 2016, ad­mit­ted there’s a fine bal­ance between en­sur­ing pub­lic ac­cess to the prov­ince’s seat of govern­ment, and en­sur­ing safety.

“My role is se­cu­rity, but it’s very, very im­por­tant to me that this cer­tainly is the build­ing for the peo­ple,” he said. “We may slow peo­ple down, but we will never stop peo­ple if they want to come for a tour or things like that — vis­i­tors that are com­ing for rea­sons. “We just try to keep it safe.” In 2015, a cou­ple who were part of the free­man-on-the-land move­ment were ar­rested for a ruckus at the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing in which a se­cu­rity of­fi­cer was bit­ten, and in 1997 a man tried to make a cit­i­zen’s ar­rest of then-MLA John Nil­son by grab­bing him by the arm. Quinn said more than in­ci­dents like that, it’s world events that have made ev­ery­one take more pre­cau­tions.

“We know Saskatchewan, we hope it’s a very safe prov­ince ... but there is a re­al­ity that it can hap­pen any­where. We can mit­i­gate as best we can; that’s what we’re here for.”

Quinn said re­cently there has also been up­grades to se­cu­rity cam­eras, and the back en­trance now has a se­cu­rity door that must be opened by a com­mis­sion­aire, although staff can still en­ter with their se­cu­rity fobs. Se­cu­rity mea­sures at the Prince of Wales en­trance are still be­ing worked out, but may in­volve metal-de­tec­tion wands.

Me­dia have also been re­quired to have photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is­sued by Quinn’s of­fice.

TROY FLEECE

A walk-through metal de­tec­tor has been in­stalled at the front en­trance of the Saskatchewan Leg­isla­tive Build­ing.

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