Senator says Red Coats, Blue Coats at La. State Capitol are inadequate

Published: May. 27, 2014 at 4:51 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Legislature is looking to change a protocol that has been in place for decades. One state senator claims security around and inside the Capitol is not adequate.

The Red Coats have policed the Senate side and the Blue Coats are in charge of the House side. For decades, the Sergeant at Arms for each chamber has been in charge of security there, but Senator Robert Adley from Shreveport says things need to change. He wants to create a legislative security commission that will hire a seasoned police officer to run all security there.

"We have lots of children, school buses full of children, and visitors who come to this capitol every day. Our groups on Homeland Security have determined that we have deficiencies here and so we're all looking for some processes that we could initiate to strengthen security," said Senator Adley.

There is sort of a non-talked about rivalry between the chambers. The Senate Red Coats are largely former police officers and they carry weapons. The House Blue Coats are not certified and do not carry weapons.

Legislators have rejected a bill to allow them to carry weapons in the Capitol, but Adley says it is not about that.

"It's not about arming legislators or anyone else. We need some professionals here to make sure that this public building that is full of people every day, particularly during session, is protected as best we can," said Adley.

The bill will be heard this week in committee.

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