Shooting Renews Security Questions Springfield Building without Metal Detectors, Armed Guards

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Byline: John Patterson Daily Herald State Government Editor

SPRINGFIELD - No metal detectors or armed guards greeted Byron and Nancy Krause when they walked up the state Capitol steps over the weekend.

And they weren't concerned.

Like dozens, if not hundreds, of daily tourists, visitors and state workers, a simple flash of a driver's license was enough to get the Naperville couple into the majestic domed building.

"I didn't really think about metal detectors. There was hardly anybody there. It didn't even cross my mind that there weren't any," Byron Krause said of their sight-seeing jaunt. "It was just very relaxed down there, as opposed to going to the Federal Reserve building in Chicago."

But Monday's fatal shooting of a security guard just steps inside the Capitol's north entrance is sure to renew discussion of tightening security at the building.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, there was no security at any of the public entrances to the Capitol. After the terrorist attack, some entrances were closed, state workers were issued new identification badges and visitors had to show a license or other official identification to security guards and usually sign in to gain access. Those guards are not armed.

For a while, armed guards were stationed at the entrances and visitors were subjected to metal-detection wands. But that practice lapsed. Only the Illinois Supreme Court across the street from the Capitol requires people go through metal detectors to enter.

Col. Larry Schmidt with the secretary of state's police said metal detectors likely would not have made a difference Monday.

"On this particular instance, unless they were outside on the steps or something - right now, we don't know 100 percent what happened here - but it appears they'd have just walked through the door, shot and left again," Schmidt said.

Stepped-up security is expected at the Capitol in the coming days, and Schmidt said all security options are being weighed.

"You will probably see metal detectors," Gov. …