Tennessee lawmakers, safety officials react to Alexandria shooti - WSMV News 4

Tennessee lawmakers, safety officials react to Alexandria shooting

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., that wounded five people, including a U.S. Representative, has Tennessee state lawmakers reflecting on their own safety.

“My hat's off to the two Capitol police officers who were there. They did their job,” said Capt. Tommy Fyke, of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

According to the Tenn. Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, Gov. Bill Haslam and the First Lady, as well as Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell, get their own security detail. 

But other lawmakers across the state do not get that level of security after they leave the Capitol complex. 

Additionally, Fyke says, troopers do regular training for bombs threats and active shooters at the Capitol.

“There's no way to prepare for every scenario. You just try to prepare and do your best, and I'll have to say the Capitol police officers they saved a lot of lives this morning,” Fyke says. 

Troopers sit at entrances to the legislative offices and the Capitol, and armed officers are stationed at the Tennessee Tower to keep our lawmakers safe. 

“Security is becoming the utmost importance to all of us down here,” says State Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin). 

Everyone must pass through metal detectors and a bag scanner to enter the buildings. Until last year, security at state offices included photo ID scans.

However, that was phased out because the process of scanning IDs and printing visitor’s passes was slowing people down.

Fyke thinks that should come back.

“My personal opinion is we need to [have it] in case there is an emergency, so we know who is in the building and if everyone's out,” Fyke says.

Some lawmakers also think what is in place may not be enough to keep them safe.

“I think they do an excellent job, but people who are out to do things like this -- they've got other ways and other means of getting to people,” says Rep. Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar).

The debate over carrying guns at the Capitol was brought up again during a session earlier this year, but it didn’t get far before getting struck down. 

Capt. Fyke says guns should be necessary since the Capitol building is already secured with armed troopers trained to use firearms in emergency situations. 

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