Maintaining a fence protecting the state capitol building since protests following George Floyd’s death last summer cost taxpayers more than $200,000, Caroline Cummings reports (2:07). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 6, 2021
- For nearly a year, a chain link fence has surrounded Minnesota State Capitol. The barrier was put up last May as a precaution during protests following George Floyd's death. That fence was removed. But a new one is in its place. WCCO's Caroline Cummings explains the change and why officials are keeping it there.
CAROLINE CUMMINGS: For months, a fence has fortified the Minnesota Capitol building. But now officials say a new one is there more securely in place as a precaution to protect the people's house.
JOHN HARRINGTON: It has got the exact same footprint as the previous fence did. That fence was put up rather hastily in May of last year. And we recognize that structurally we could do a better job.
CAROLINE CUMMINGS: As law enforcement is out there ready during Derrick Chauvin's trial, including state troopers who monitor Capitol grounds, Harrington says the fence frees up resources.
JOHN HARRINGTON: With the fencing securing these properties, it requires less police personnel to be on guard and to be on duty, allowing more officers to be available, to be responsive to the needs of the community.
CAROLINE CUMMINGS: This new fence installed in March is more costly than the old fence, which was up for 10 months. But all told, both fences cost taxpayers more than $200,000. According to the state's purchase order, the new fence costs more than $68,000 to install and is rented for four months at more than $12,000 per month. The total price tag more than $116,000.
That's slightly less than the more than $107,000 it cost to keep up the old fence. This comes following a hundred protests outside of the Capitol building in 2020, according to DPS, including this one that took down the Statue of Christopher Columbus, which was outside of the fence at the time. DPS Commissioner John Harrington says there isn't a plan to keep the fence up there long term. A state contract has it up for at least another four months. At the Capitol, Carolyn Cummings, WCCO 4 News.
- Harrington says there's also a new fence around St. Paul Police Headquarters, as well as some police precincts.