GOP lawmaker to introduce bill requiring study of state Capitol security; FBI warns of potential protests

NOW: GOP lawmaker to introduce bill requiring study of state Capitol security; FBI warns of potential protests

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Police in Madison now preparing for the possibility of protests and unrest over the next week. Their preparations come as the FBI is warning of the possibility for armed protests at capitol buildings across the country.

Republican Sen. Roger Roth from Appleton is working on a bill that would require a study to be done to assess the capitol’s safety and security. Roth hopes to introduce his bill in the coming weeks.

"What we want to make sure is that going forward we're not caught off guard again," Roth told CBS 58 in an interview. 

He said consultants would be hired to make that evaluation.

"That would certainly include increasing the physical security of the building and that may or may not include more Capitol police," Roth said.

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a provision in the last state budget that would have required the state Department of Administration to conduct a study of the security of the Capitol grounds. At the time, Evers said he objected to releasing information about security gaps in a public report. He did direct Capitol police to review security plans.

Following last week's events in Washington DC, Steven Pederson, a retired law enforcement officer from Waukesha County, said he believes lessons can be learned.

"While there were certainly some failures, which I think is an understatement of what happened at the Capitol, the majority of the time the information sharing between law enforcement entities is always very good," Pederson said.

Pederson said following major incidents such as 911 and the recent bombing in Nashville, law enforcement will debrief to discuss what went well and what did not.

"I think they always do a very good job of looking back and evaluating these particular incidents and and dissecting them, and trying to ... learn the lessons of what they need to improve on," Pederson said.

Victor Wahl, acting police chief of the Madison Police Department, said his department will work with Capitol police and other agencies over the next week to form a plan in the event of protests.

"Over the last 10 months we've had had a lot of this type of activity in Madison, so we have a lot of real strong partnerships with these agencies and have a lot of experience doing this type of things recently," Wahl said.

He said he's staying on top of intelligence and information from state and federal agencies.

"Our goal is if people are going to come and protest or march or express their opinion that we want to facilitate their First Amendment rights," Wahl said.

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