WASHINGTON — U.S. House members want $25,000 each to hire private security right away to protect them in their home districts, an unusually quick, bipartisan response to the shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, at a suburban Washington ballpark. A House panel has approved an immediate $10 million for the rest of fiscal 2017, which runs through Sept. 30, for that purpose. Representatives could use the money to pay for an off-duty police officer or private security guard at public meetings with constituents and at fish fries, meet-and-greets or other events in their districts. The legislation also would add $7.5 million for Capitol Police to bulk up threat assessment and security measures in Washington for fiscal 2018, especially when lawmakers gather in groups, and $5 million for members to buy in cameras, door buzzers, key cards and panic buttons in their district offices. The Federal Election Commission also is considering letting lawmakers use campaign money to secure their residences. Capitol Police provide security at lawmakers’ offices in Washington and at the Capitol. They also shadow members of the House and Senate leadership teams, including Scalise, who was shot and critically wounded the GOP team’s practice for the annual congressional baseball game. Scalise was reported to be making good progress and remains hospitalized in fair condition.
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., chairman of the subcommittee writing the security budget legislation, wants to provide more money in members’ office accounts for personal protection next year as well, but the exact amount hasn’t been determined yet. His legislation assumes Congress‘ existing budget will be enough to absorb increases for security by tapping unused funds that members typically return to treasury at the end of each fiscal year.
“We believe they need additional resources to meet their mission in this polarized political climate,” Yoder said. It still needs to pass through several more steps before final approval, notably support from the full House and Senate. The measure is subject to House and Senate approval, but signs for increased funding are positive. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called for more money. “I would support and I have suggested they need a bigger budget,” she said of the Capitol Police. The top Democrat on Yoder’s subcommittee, Tim Ryan of Ohio, said Yoder’s bill was a good start. Some members want security details to follow lawmakers wherever they go, he said. “There are a number of members who have had very specific threats and after the Scalise tragedy are feeling legitimately scared that they will be next,” he said.
The cost for 24-hour personal security guards for all 535 lawmakers in Congress likely would be prohibitive, Yoder said, and could make them less accessible to voters. “It puts up barriers between the public and members of Congress,” Yoder said. Lawmakers need to be responsive to the people they represent, he said, and “a wall of security would complicate that. So we’re trying to find a balance.”
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., is one of the members who would like to see heightened personal security for members who want it, at least when they’re in their districts. He estimated it would cost about $45,000 to $50,000 a year to hire a personal security guard to protect a member in his or her home state during weekends and congressional breaks. Even before the Scalise shooting, Cleaver felt threatened at times. He’s received death threats and racist screeds. A man firebombed his district office in 2014. More recently, an angry voter screamed at Cleaver at the airport.
“I don’t want to overstate the threats,” he said. “But we only talk about it after a tragedy, and if nothing is done now the next time it happens — not if it happens again — then people will say well it’s probably time for us to do something.”
Yoder’s panel was in the process of writing a bill that included security funding for Congress when gunman James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., opened fire June 14 on Republican lawmakers at their practice in Alexandria, Va. Witnesses said Hodgkinson asked whether the ballplayers were Republicans or Democrats before opening fire. Members of Congress were badly shaken by the shooting, which wounded Scalise and four others, including two Capitol Police officers who were part of a private security detail traveling with Scalise in his role as a member of the House leadership team. After the shooting, Yoder said, people wrote menacing messages on his official Facebook page, saying it was too bad he also wasn’t at the practice too. For Yoder, heightened security concerns have been a factor in his own reluctance to hold a public meeting with constituents in his suburban Kansas City district. Such meetings in some other Republican-held districts have become rowdy affairs over the past seven months as voters upset about President Donald Trump’s election victory in November mobilized at a grass-roots level to pressure their representatives to resist Trump’s agenda.
Yoder said he’s been working with news media groups and Trump resistance organizations in his district to find a safe venue for a public meeting that will accommodate a “productive dialogue” instead of devolving into a “circus.” He prefers telephone meetings for now.
“Members of Congress are being shot in broad daylight because of what they believe in. Of course we’re going to be concerned,” he said. “We just want to find a safe, constructive format for both me and the constituents.”
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Story by Lindsay Wise.
Electric security fence provider Electric Guard Dog, Columbia, South Carolina, has announced it will make a third appearance the list of Best Places to Work in South Carolina. This 12th annual list is created by SC Biz News in partnership with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and Best Companies Group.
Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process, including an employee survey to measure the employee experience. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, analyzed the data and determined the final rankings.
Electric Guard Dog Chief Financial Officer Nathan Leaphart says, “We’ve got a phenomenal staff, we are tremendously proud of them and grateful to them for this award. We work hard to ensure a ‘pay it forward’ company culture where everyone is respected, acknowledged and promoted whenever possible. Our employees in turn pay that forward to our customers, providing the best customer and technical service in the industry. We owe this award to them, and thank them.”
In the last year, Electric Guard Dog has received a number of honors, including Dealer of the Year for the security industry and two American Business Awards a Gold Maverick of the Year for CEO Jack DeMao and a Bronze Company of the Year in Business Services. The company also was awarded an Open Company designation by Glassdoor for their efforts to reach out to employees and recruits alike.
The ranked companies will be recognized at a reception and dinner, presented by Colonial Life, Aug. 3, 2017, and the rankings will be published in the August 2017 issue of SCBIZ magazine.
You don t get off with a warning for that. A Hialeah, Fla., security guard apparently decided it was time to be a police officer when he allegedly showed a badge and tried to pull over a female driver last week, according to the Orlando Sentinel. As it turns out, the guard, Milton Morales-Perez, 46, flagged down a Miami Police Department officer, Kenia Fallat.
Last week in Miami, a man allegedly posed as an officer to make a traffic stop — but the woman he tried to pull over turned out to be a Miami police officer.
(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Fallat was riding in her unmarked, police-issued Taurus and was in full uniform. Fallat said that the security guard, speaking Spanish, said, Police. Stop the car. Morales-Perez then allegedly waved a silver badge at Fallat, and informed her to roll down her window and hang up her phone.
Milton Morales-Perez, 46, was charged with impersonating a police officer last Wednesday.
(Local 10 ABC)
Morales-Perez allegedly told police he had a badge because he was a security guard, and that he’d attempted to pull Fallat over because she was on the phone and it is very dangerous to be on the phone while driving, the same outlet reports. Morales-Perez told Local 10 News that he felt the incident was a misunderstanding. He claims to have never said he was a police officer and says that Fallat must ve spotted his security uniform. He admitted to admonishing Fallat about the cell phone, but said she pulled up to his car and complained, What did you say to me?
Morales-Perez said that the issue is something that cannot be explained in English, according to Local 10 News.