By Shaddi Abusaid, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga (CNT)
An 8-foot fence will be erected around the Georgia State Capitol as officials look to increase security at the Gold Dome following months of protests in downtown Atlanta, Channel 2 Action News reported.
The Georgia Building Authority and the State Public Safety Board approved the deal as part of a $5 million package to beef up security at the Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion and the Department of Public Safety headquarters in southeast Atlanta, according to the news station.
All three locations have been the sites of protests calling for an end to police violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death over the summer. In July, a group of people vandalized the DPS building, which serves as the headquarters for the Georgia State Patrol and houses several other state agencies, AJC.com previously reported.
Several people involved in the destruction were armed with rocks and carried spray paint and fireworks, authorities said. During the incident, a small fire broke out in a DPS office after a firework was thrown through an open window. Officials estimated the damage to the building would cost about $250,000 to repair.
The fencing around the Capitol will allow the Georgia National Guard to withdraw some of the roughly two dozen troops who have been assisting with overnight security at the Gold Dome and its surrounding buildings, which are typically protected by state troopers and Capitol police.
“It will give us a long-term solution where the guard was a short-term solution for us, said GSP Capt. Jim Wicker, who leads 42 officers tasked with protecting the downtown buildings. “Hopefully this fence will eliminate the use for the Guard.”
Wicker told Channel 2 that crews from the building authority are doing some preliminary work to prepare for the increased security measures. Since the fence will be secured in concrete, some outside lights and underground electrical cables will need to be moved, he said.
The news station reported that two samples of the fencing have already been placed on the southside of the Capitol. The fences are 8 feet high and have spikes at the top to deter anyone from climbing over them.