South Dakota wouldn’t be the only governor’s residence with a fence

KELOLAND.com Original

Photo by Bob Mercer.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — At least two neighboring states have fences around their governor’s mansions and according to a state official, South Dakota is one of the last to install one.

While Maggie Seidel of Gov. Kristi Noem’s office said the office does not talk about security she “can confirm we are one of the last (if not the last) residences in the country without a meaningful fence.”

South Dakota state officials said this week a 2019 plan to add a security fence at the residence would be used.

North Dakota’s governor’s residence has has a security fence and security cameras, said Sgt. Wade Kadrmas, the safety and education officer for the North Dakota Highway Patrol. Kadrmas said he could not provide any additional information on security measures.

The governor’s residence in St. Paul has had a security fence for many years, said Bruce Gordon, the director of communications for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Gordon said he could not provide any additional information on security measures.

It’s not the only state that decided this year to build a security fence in recent years.

On July 14, the Lexington Kentucky Herald said the state planned to build a security fence following an incident with an effigy and protests.

Indiana added security gates to the governor’s residence in 2014, according to numerous media reports.

Since the attack on the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, state officials have been interested in increasing security at state capitols and governor’s residences, said James Nash, the press secretary with the National Governors Association.

Some states have added security fences, Nash said. Other changes include upgrading non physical safety measures, he said.

What has been happening at state buildings over the past 19 years is similar to security adjustments in other parts of life such as metal detectors at various locations and increased security at airports, Nash said.

In at least the majority of U.S. states, security for the governor and the governor’s residence is provided by the state or highway patrol.

In Nebraska, the State Capitol Security is the newest part of the State Patrol of Nebraska, according to the state patrol’s website. A specific detail covers security for the governor, the governor’s family and residence, according to the website.

“We have a twenty-four hour communication center at the Capitol that monitors, panic alarms, fire alarms, cameras, access cards, intrusion alarms and building maintenance systems,” the Nebraska state patrol website said. “This is all accomplished through an extensive security system. Security officers also perform mobile and walking patrols of the Capitol Complex Area.”

Minnesota has a system similar to Nebraska’s.

The executive protection unit of the Minnesota State Patrol is comprised of state Troopers who are responsible for protecting the Governor and his staff, according to the dpsmn.gov website.  These troopers are also responsible for security at the Governor’s Residence, located on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.  Additionally, they are also responsible for the Governor’s primary residence if different than the Summit Avenue home.

Similar systems exist in Iowa, Missouri, Lousiana, for example.

The public access to the governor’s residences vary in four neighboring states.

“The governor’s residence is not routinely open to the public,” Gordon said of the Minnesota residence.

“There is space designed to hold public gatherings. These gatherings are scheduled by the governor’s office,” Kadrmas said of North Dakota.

Seidel and Tony Mangan, the spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, said they could not provide information on any public spaces in the governor’s residence.

News reports show that then Gov. Dennis Daugaard opened the residence for tours throughout his years in office.

Iowa’s governor’s residence is Terrace Hill. It is about 150 years old and it is a registered National Landmark, according to the Terrace Hill website. It is open for tours.

The third floor is occupied by the state’s governor and family. The first and second floors are open for tours and public events, according to the terracehill.iowa.gov website. The Iowa Highway Patrol has an office in the basement and it provides security for the residence.

Visitors much register for the tours 48 hours in advance, according to the Terrace Hill website. The tours are guided. Visitors must reserve a tour and must check in at the carriage house on the grounds. The public is not allowed to walk on the grounds and vehicles cannot be parked on the grounds.

The governor’s residence in Lincoln, Nebraska, is open for guided tours on Thursday afternoons by appointment only, according to the lincoln.org website. Tour reservations are required two weeks in advance. A photo ID and additional information may be required before entering for security purposes.

Kentucky was one of the states reported to be adding a security fence this year. The historic governor’s home is open to the public for tours.

The governor’s mansion website says the mansion has been registered on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972. “Kentucky’s Governor’s Mansion is one of only a handful of executive residences in the United States to be open to the public for tours,” the website said.

Illinois’ governor’s residence is open for tours but numerous media reports said in August 2019, that new security measures would be added for those tours. The mansion had been re-opened for tours in 2018 after extensive renovation.

Tour requirements include: All visitors over the age of 18 must bring a government-issued photo ID or passport to gain entry to the mansion grounds, guests will be required to walk through a magnetometer upon entering the mansion and tour reservations are required, according to the Ilinois mansion website .

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