State Budget Committee Stalls Talk Of Statehouse 'Turnstiles'

Aug 14, 2015

Governor Pence's Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety John Hill addresses the State Budget Committee Friday about ways to improve security at the Indiana Statehouse.
Credit Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

Amid concerns about cost and effectiveness, the State Budget Committee tabled a vote Friday on adding new security measures to Indiana Statehouse entrances.

Some of the concern from Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) comes from the definition of the “turnstiles” the state proposes adding at a cost of nearly $900,000.

Kenley wondered how such equipment would stop people from entering the statehouse unmonitored, as happens with the current keycard system.

“And so, if you put a turnstile up there then you decide you don’t have to man that station, then the guy you’re talking about is just going to jump the turnstile and keep going,” Kenley says.

But State Architect Jason Larrison says it’s a misleading term – and one his team was instructed before the meeting not to use.

“A lot of people think of the same things that you use at stadiums," Larrison says. "That they’re mostly there for doing head counts. But actually, there are a number of security products out there that look like glass revolving doors that provide that same sort of security without the ability to jump over.”

State security experts also invoked the name of Middle East terrorist group ISIS during the hearing.

John Hill, the governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety, told the committee he’s been briefed about the possibility Indiana would be the target of an ISIS attack.

“We are quite concerned about that," Hill says. "And while we don’t have a specific threat, we have to be delicate about what we talk about, but I can tell you that there are young people that are being inspired by foreign terrorists that are being inspired to do these kinds of things.”

The confusion, as well as worries about the cost, led the committee to put off action on the plan until at least its next meeting in October.