Security a concern for Olympia lawmakers after chaos

The chaos was not limited to Washington D.C. on Wednesday. After a mostly peaceful demonstration on Olympia’s Capitol Campus, dozens broke through a security gate surrounding Governor Jay Inslee’s home.

Since the legislature will gather at the Olympia this coming Monday for the first time since the pandemic began, security is a top concern for lawmakers.

Leadership is considering asking the state’s National Guard to help secure the campus.

Inslee told reporters the threat level has increased dramatically locally. The Washington State Patrol told Q13 News security for lawmakers remains a top priority.

"Yesterday could have been handled better," said WSP Sgt. Darren Wright.

The first line of defense surrounding the Governor’s residence in Olympia was breached Wednesday. Some of them climbed over a massive gate and eventually breaking through it, marching on the front lawn while the state’s elected executive was home.

"The governor was never in danger," said Wright. "We made sure that was safe and we able to get resources here and have them removed from the grounds without further incidents."

Next week state lawmakers will meet in the Capitol to kick off the new legislative session.

Pandemic restrictions means government buildings are closed to the public, challenging lawmakers to balance public engagement.

While officials vow security will be tight, lawmakers say balancing public engagement will be a challenge.

"People who have very much engaged in the process aren’t going to be allowed to do that," said Senator Shelly Short.

The WSP says none of those seen trespassing onto the Governor’s lawn faced arrest but could be prosecuted.  Deploying the state’s National Guard for Monday’s legislative session is being considered to keep the peace.

"We are re-evaluating our security measures and how we position for Monday," said Wright.