State Capitol officers share security practices - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

State Capitol officers share security practices following Navy Yard shooting

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

As the nation's eyes turned to the Navy Yard shooting, area police officers were also watching closely. In fact - the police officers who protect Virginia's Capitol say they learn from tragedies to improve response on a local level.

Any crime you can imagine that happens in a city can happen right here at the capitol. Officers here are trained to respond to disorderly conduct, drunk drivers, and shootings. They're working around the clock to keep you safe.

The three police canines at the capitol police department have an important mission.

"Pretty much any type of explosive that's out in the real world today, our dogs are trained to detect them," says officer Sean Chaulklin.

Officers offered a demonstration where one canine searched for one of several bags packed with explosives.

"Once they get an odor, they're trained to sit. That's their response and they'll get their toy from there," Chaulklin said.

It didn't take long for the canine to make the discovery.

It's just one of the many resources on hand as capitol officers fight crime.

"We have large crowds of people who come to the capitol, visitors, a lot of school groups, so we have a lot of people moving through this complex," said Col. Steve Pike.

The police department oversees security guards on site who screen every visitor who enters. Officers are assigned to monitor surveillance of the 12 acre premises. Bike patrols help officers get to a scene quickly - even making traffic stops as they see the need and critical incident gear is ready to go for emergencies.

"We always want to be prepared in the event some unfortunate scenario may unfold here," Col. Pike added.

Monday's Navy Yard tragedy taught this team of first responders valuable lessons.

"We're constantly watching what occurs across the country so we can stay ahead of it the best we can in case unfortunately something like that happened," Pike said.

Right now the capitol police division has about 70 officers on board but come next month that number will jump to 80. It's an important announcement officers say, as they work to keep security and enforcement at the forefront.

Col. Pike says many of his officers are also trained as EMTs so that they can quickly respond to a medical emergency as soon as it happens.

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