Pentagon security revamped after shooting
Pentagon security officials announced new security measures Thursday that include more random screening of visitors and Defense Department workers, a wider security perimeter and more lighting around the building's main entrance, following a shooting there last month that left the gunman dead and two police officers injured.
The changes will be most noticeable at the busy southeast side of the building near the Metro station, according to the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which already has installed more lighting and stationed police officers closer to the station's escalators.
"We’ve had a lot of things in place here since 9/11, but the March 4th incident and other incidents have caused us to really look at this," said PFPA Director Steven E. Calvery in reference to the March shooting and last year's massacre in Fort Hood, Tex., that left 13 people dead.
The stepped-up screening procedures have been well received by Pentagon workers, Calvery said.
"I think it sends a message to everyone that what you can and can’t do here," he said.
A larger, temporary visitors screening center also will be constructed at the Metro entrance this summer before a larger structure is built in the coming years. The construction is part of a multimillion-dollar revamp of Pentagon security that includes a new hazmat response center, a new truck screening facility and more security sensors and lighting across the sprawling complex.
About 23,000 Defense Department employees and contractors work at the Pentagon, which has more than 1,000 visitors per day, according to PFPA. The agency was established by the Bush administration in 2002 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It employs 1,300 workers, including about 750 police officers.
John Patrick Bedell, 36, opened fire at the Pentagon entrance on the evening of March 4 and later died of gunshot wounds to the head. Officers Jeffrey Amos, 46, and Marvin L. Carraway Jr., 44, suffered minor wounds in the shootout. Both officers reported to work Thursday, the agency said.
| April 1, 2010; 3:58 PM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues
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