Attempts to step up Capitol security continued this week with the installation of panic buttons in staff offices and the continued targeting of certain protesters.

The Department of Administration confirmed Tuesday that it installed 482 panic buttons in offices around the statehouse, in an effort to provide a level of comfort for staffers who they say have felt harassed by the presence of protesters in the historic building.

The wireless buttons send an alert to Capitol police, who will respond immediately, DOA Spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said. "(Staffers) have basically been told to press it anytime they feel threatened," she said.

Marquis said the buttons cost a total of $103,172, a total that will be divided between the DOA, the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

That news comes a day after Capitol police continued its crackdown on protesters accused of holding or posting signs and banners in the Rotunda. Marquis said seven citations were written Monday to four protesters, all of which were issued at protesters' homes and in one case, a workplace.

"The citations were served at their homes to avoid confrontation and maintain order at the Capitol," she said.

But that is not how many of the protesters see it. Bart Munger of Milton received two tickets, each totalling $200.50, for lack of a permit and an illegal display of a sign. Police delivered them to his job on campus at UW-Madison, where he works maintenance.

Munger, who attended the noon sing-along protest at the Capitol Tuesday, said he felt the move was meant to intimidate him. Fellow protester, Arthur Kohl-Riggs, said it seemed police were trying to get Munger fired.

"It's a clear case of harassment," he said. "And they made sure to do it where it couldn't be caught on camera, because they know it would get a lot of people upset."

More than 100 people turned out for the Tuesday sing-along, a number far greater than what the daily tradition had become before new Capitol Police Chief David Erwin announced he was going to crack down on the event, held for some time without a police permit.

The strict enforcement of the rule, along with actually ticketing and arresting some violators, seems to run in direct opposition to the state's earlier stated position.

In December 2011, Jocelyn Webster, the then-DOA spokeswoman and now-communication director for Gov. Scott Walker, told several news outlets that "No one is going to be arrested for not being in compliance with the permit policy."

When asked about the apparent change, Marquis would only say, "The standards upon which the police take action remains the same. Arrests are based upon the law."

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said she understands the desire to be safe, but thinks the chief's approach has been heavy handed.

"It's hard to know when you will need a panic button, until you need it," she said. "But I have never felt threatened, especially by simply having people sing songs."

State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, agreed that he has never felt really unsafe in the building, but added, "It's never a bad idea to be careful."

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(73) comments

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

I wonder how many democrats asked and received panic buttons. Maybe they too are afraid of the liberal protestors too!!

whatistruth
whatistruth

I just got it!

This was done because of guilt... in their hearts (if they have one) they all know what they did is wrong and would cause people to stand up for their rights...

Comment deleted.
schism
schism

Sounds like you might be trying to grow up.....but very confused on facts and still willing to be inconsiderate and not follow rules. It will come. Give it time, it will come.

There are laws that you have to follow and other things like, don't take more than you need, have respect for other people and so on and so on........Keep practicing and see.

Bobby P
Bobby P

I don't have a particular problem with installing a few security (panic) buttons... but putting in 482 seems like a bit of over kill and paranoia- aimed a bit more as political than security. I may live in a different world than most people... but I have yet to meet someone that is paranoid who didn't also suffer from some sort of guilt complex.

Before the tea partiers and right get to excited and place blame, I'd really like to see a listing of how many people have been assulted or injured by these huge bands of dangerous folks expressing their feelings and views by carrying a few signs or singing. I haven't seen any assult cases at the capital, other than Supreme (shame) Court Justice David Prosser assulting fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

ProgressiveNow
ProgressiveNow

You know whats worse than the money spent installing these devices? Now Scooter will say he created jobs by this installation! What a tool!

bobsuruncle
bobsuruncle

Better start with the State Supreme Court offices first - Prosser may go on another choking women spree.

poochie2
poochie2

Why not supply each staffer with a telephone on which they can dial extension numbers. One of those numbers can be called 'Panic' and when you press that number it will send a signal to the capitol police. In addition, each staffer might be encouraged to purchase a wireless cell phone, just as a precaution against state lines being disabled. Each staffer can be supplied with a phone number and extension which will also allow them to be in contact with capitol police in an alternative fashion.

retired
retired

Of course, the pathetic unions AND democrats will foot the bill, being THEY r the ones that caused this. To all, remember last Feb. when it comes time to vote this Nov.

LiLa
LiLa

I can't remember the last time a group of people singing songs posed a threat to those around them. This is like the voter ID law -- a solution looking for a problem.

Good Gosh
Good Gosh

Why wasn't this done a year and a half ago when there was something to gripe about? How many huge demonstrations have there been lately? I cannot believe this was done because a dozen people gather in the rotunda to sing. I do recall, however, that there was a problem when a tea party guy (or maybe just a troublemaker) draped something - a flag or a sheet - can't recall - over a singer...remember that? So far, any real trouble has been caused by those folks. But here we go, getting people all riled up again. Say, Scooter, didn't you get enough media attention at the RNC?

Mr_Silly
Mr_Silly

I thought the state was broke.

This does seem like a really good use of limited funds though.

schism
schism

Yeah right, lets spend it on recalls and trampling down the capital grounds!!!

badgersue
badgersue

This seems like a waste of taxpayer money. Did they put a panic button at every desk? I don't see where anyone has been threatened by persons carrying signs or singing songs.

schism
schism

I agree you. Immature people are wasting allot of taxpayer money and time. With the scene that has been set, Panic buttons aren't a bad idea and the cost does pale in comparison to the Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent cleaning up after the each protest on state property.
Daily distractions at the capital by morons singing off key instead of working wandering around like off key zombies wee shalll over commmmmmme or eat your brains as we have none of our own....... I mean really......., Grow up and stop this extreme waste of time and money!.

witness2012
witness2012

Badger, some legislators chose not to have them installed. Others had them installed without being asked, whether they wanted them or not.

Sondy Pope-Roberts was interviewed on the news. She has one in her office, but was not consulted first and sees no need for them. I'd be interested in how the process to decide who got them and who did not occurred.

mequondoctorrob
mequondoctorrob

Through all the turmoil of the last 18 months, only one person advocated violence and that was the eagle scout when he spoke to "David koch" and said he wanted to send in goons to start a riot. Who should be afraid of whom? Will the preacher's son advocate this behavior again? Certainly cause for great concern.

Hogzilla
Hogzilla

Funny how time twists your reality. Walker just said they had talked about the idea of inserting troublemakers into the crowd to counter the troublemakers that were already there. He never said he wanted to, nor did he say they actually planned on it. Keep dreaming Rob....

whatistruth
whatistruth

Hogzy, babe... YOUR STATEMENT IS A BOLD-FACED LIE!

Walker said "we thought about that", i.e. about doing it.

If he was a man of integrity, he would not even have thought of it AND YOU are the funey one with "twists" of "reality"!

SPIN PENALTY!!!!!!!!!!!

Hogzilla
Hogzilla

I don't see it that way. When I have an issue or a task at hand, I generally consider as many choices that I can and then decide what to do after I think them over. The fact that he didn't put instigators in the crowd shows his integrity, at least in my mind. What I said was not a lie, I heard the whole conversation with the fake Koch Brother and what he actually said is what I repeated. Rob is the one doing the lying here and by association, so are you. There is no spin penalty for pointing out the TRUTH.

Hogzilla
Hogzilla

Oh, and the term is bald faced, FYI.

alan54
alan54

Anyone else catch the recent Taxation Hearing on Wisconsin Eye when Rep Chris Taylor was trying to ask pertinent questions of the panelists and was disrupted by Buffoon Grothman "inadvertantly" pushing the panic button. They need a false alarm penalty for these clowns.

array1
array1

Not as widely known -Wi supreme court Justice david Prosser's Coworkers all also had panic buttons installed.

Wis_BlogRider
Wis_BlogRider

Our Wisconsin State Capitol building is beginning to look a lot like the Eisly Cantina Bar in the Star Wars film with the number of bizarre dangerous characters Walker brought with him to improve our well being in Wisconsin and look out for all the citizens of Wisconsin.

Comment deleted.

show you an example of when this has been needed??? This is a place of work. Show me a time when you've Ever had Thousands of angry people show up at your work and be allowed in to scream and make threats. Chief Tubbs didn't do his job and now these idiots think they own the place. Guess what - the rest of us have rights too. Exercise your free speech and go talk to your reps anytime, but if you are just trying to be a nuisance and annoying then you are infringing on my right to go there and use that space peacefully too.

The people who must work in that building have the right to be and feel safe.
Maybe if Chief Tubbs had done his job in the first place and not let them get out of control it wouldn't come to this. I know if I worked there I would have been asking for this a long time ago.

Happy2b
Happy2b

You've got to be kidding?!? Republicans getting a little paranoid, perhaps? Cant handle chanting protesters? Well, I guess if you're going to let people carry around concealed firearms...

schism
schism

Stay away from adult themes you might get grown up!

Gierahn
Gierahn

I am delighted that Walker and his staff are so uncomfortable with the guilt of their actions. They are afraid because they know that they're the aggressors.

schism
schism

Listen to yourself........Scary isn't it.

powmda
powmda

Selective memory, anyone? How convenient for the Lefties to forget all the intimidation , disorderly conduct, threats, etc., etc., that decent people have had to put up with over the past two years. Get off the "It's just Granny singing" BS. That line may play well with the typical Madison Leftie. Outside of Dane County? Not so much. You want to conduct your silly little protests as a way to occupy your idle time? Fine! Go someplace over on the UW campus where you and others of your ilk are appreciated. The adults of this state have gotten a bit tired of your antics.

motherlode
motherlode

Unbelievable!!!

Only republicans could stoop to this level.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Funny,

Liberal run cities like New York, New Orleans, and even San Francisco have embraced such technology and in those places with liberal support....only liberals in Madison seem to suddenly reread "1984" and worry about "big brother"

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Migraine,

Why are you so obsessed with the lowest common denominator...a panic button.

Why are you not screaming about choke points and facial recognition software tied to public records databases?

Come on now, you should know if your so into this security stuff, the public release stuff is the lowest tech and most obvious.

But don't want to start any conspiracy theories among neurotic liberals like you,

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Migraine,

You listing security contractors for what reason????

Sounds like your calling on attacks based of pure speculation by YOU.

CompassionateConservative
CompassionateConservative

Let's give the heave ho to these hobos. It's over liberal kumbya progressives! You have officially been sent to the Russ warehouse.

Good Gosh
Good Gosh

been sent to the Russ warehouse...is that short for Russia?? Like in our #1 enemy as Romney would have us believe? Wow, you guys are really a stitch, lol.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Blitzgirl,

I challenge you to an outburst of yelling fire from the gallery when assembly is in session.

After all, it's freedom of speech.

blitzgirl
blitzgirl

WI_XPAT It is freedom of speech..... How do you know I have not been there. However inaddition , it is not your business!!! I do not agree with disrupting business. However, when OUR GOVERNMENT ignores us and blows past bills, which should not be passed or need discussion, they need to be kept in place.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Explain why this is not my business.

This is a public forum, right? You claim feeding of speech but it appears your trying to suppress it at the same time.

This is a representative republic last time I checked, although it would appear that those like you want to overthrow this to suit your own immediate wants at the expense of future generations.

Government ignores you, me, them...depending on who is in office and their world view. The proper way is to vote and not attempt to force legitimate representation to bow down to you.

Keep in mind, the very means you claim to others "blowing" legislation past you was also the means that was used to pass legislation you agree with. Remember "we'll have to pass it (Obamacare) so we can see what's in it".

You want a life full of being disenfranchised, try being a fiftyish white male in these United States. We grew up with every legislation that minimized our race and gender....we are the poster of what liberals and current laws believe "should not be hired" and basically take the hit for generations gone bye that did wrong. In my case, I lost count on how many times I have been told to step aside based on skin pigmentation and genitalia.

But if a bunch of middle aged white guys were to have sit ins or solidarity singing...pretty sure your one to insist we be locked up and tattooed with the word "racist" on our foreheads.

That is the ugly underbelly the likes of you seem to have so you can "feel" like your a good person though....eventually that ugly truth will also be the burden you will have to where, like us middle aged white guys have had to endure. Thanks to stupidity of generations gone by.


Three Labs
Three Labs

"Freedom of speech. Should not need a permit This is a suppression of people's rights" .... is that really the best comment you can come up with, it's like you pulled it out of your liberal 101 handbook.
Do yu really believe somebody should be able to walk around any public building and disturb everybody else that is there just because they want too?

calme
calme

For the sake of exercise and illustration, let's look at your remark from the lens of another right granted to the American people:

"Do you really believe somebody should be able to walk around anywhere with an assault rifle displayed to everyone just because they want to?"

What is your take on this perspective?

schism
schism

America!!!!!!

blitzgirl
blitzgirl

Freedom of speech. Should not need a permit. This is a suppression of people's rights.

its not jsut freedom of speech. It's intimidation, harrassment, nuisance, annoyance, etc.
If they want to exercise free speech, fine. If they want to act like They are the only ones who have rights and infringe on anyone else's rights to use OUR statehouse, then they will be cited. You are supressing My rights.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

LMAO,

The whole purpose of protesting is to force a groups beliefs on others to pursued a change.

The idea that the pressure was not filled with intimidation, especially when protestors willing attempt to thwart laws and policies, is laughable.

The solidarity protestors have a history of roaming the building and entering areas that do not belong. Coupled with homeless activists moving their constituents into the Capital and making the building a refuge for them, it's about time actions are taken to protect workers and visitors to a building that does not exclusively belong to protestors as they would believe.

Three Labs
Three Labs

I would say a group of people singing out loud would fall in the catagory of being disruptive

Three Labs
Three Labs

Do you people actually read the news article or do you just like to complain about nothing. Nowhere does it say that security put in the panic buttons because of the liberal sing along group. Everybody knows by now that if you want to stand around and protest in the capital you need to get a permit, so why doesn't this group just get a permit. Does anybody seriously believe somebody will get fired from the liberal UW campus for protesting without a permit

middleclassmd
middleclassmd

I was there with my family during the protests and my wife said at the time she knew why they wanted concealed-carry, it was because our representatives were scared of us. I guess they still are... at least the Supreme court justices can use the buttons instead of grabbing each other by the throat. Maybe it was at Prosser's request.

Hey, what do you bet the contract to install the buttons went to a Republican campaign contributor...

Migraine
Migraine

My guess is Audio Implements/GKC specializing in electronics for surveillance. However he is deep in contracts with another security company which keeps changing its name... Wackenhut / G4S / ????. They got all his prime security contracts guarding secret entrances. But then Twin City Security got some great no-bid deals from County Exec Walker and many new contracts checking for guns at public buildings. Anything they can do to drain the taxpayers money is their plan.

schism
schism

Mainstream America is scared by adults that act like you. We watch from afar and shutter, reminding our children this is how not to act....You take your children into the mire.....shame shame.

Norby
Norby

Look at the bright side. Walker promised to creat jobs. Here we have a positive example of a promise kept. Could be a first!!

witness2012
witness2012

Erwin is going to cost the state even more money with his inconsistent application of the law, his targeting of some people, but not everyone, and his crackdown on non-violent political activity that has gone on for over a year without incident.

I wish he had taken some time to confer with Charles Tubbs, the former chief of the capitol police, so that his judgment would be more sound.

The mission of the capitol police is to make "every effort to ensure the rights of political expression in the capitol, balanced against the need for public safety".

If someone in the building is disruptive or threatening, the capitol police should intervene and cite that person. But, shutting down a non-violent sing-along, conducted outside of business hours, simply because those people are critical of recent state policies, and disruptive people also are critical is guilt by association. It also means that the crackdown is not "content-neutral", but only targets those opposed to the governor's policies.

To arrest people who were holding felt banners, weighing about 1 lb, and let the guy carrying the ill-concealed gun at the sing-along alone is beyond nuts. I can't wait to see them defend that selective enforcement in court.

The gun wasn't infringing on anyone else's rights. neither was the pen in his pocket.

witness2012
witness2012

MOR, those holding banners were cited as an issue of public safety and were told there was a concern that the banners might be dropped and would hit someone walking underneath. Since they are made of felt and weigh very little, if the banners did manage to slip from the grasp of those holding them, the public safety risk was very small.

In contrast, the man with the gun was potentially a much greater public safety risk to everyone in the capitol, yet he received no citations. Since the gun was visible, he was in violation of the 'concealed' part of 'concealed and carry'.

A clear case of selective enforcement.

Oscar
Oscar

If it weren't for the illegal actions and corruption of the current administration, they wouldn't feel the need for a button. The grannies and ex=hippie singers can be quite an intimidating force, I guess. They must be fearing the tea-baggers and "patriots" of the repub party will revolt and tar and feather politicians like in revolutionary days. My hunch is that walker and company are planning something that they expect to cause unrest.

schism
schism

Preparing for you to destroy and pillage your way through another protest of an adult making adult decisions.... and don't forget we have a big election coming up. Look at how you kids acted during your last 2! Your hunch was right, you should know!

jwalk
jwalk

For most of you, it's your parents basement. Unfortunately for the rest of us.

jwalk
jwalk

Goofball freaky liberals costing us yet more money.
Stop the whining.
Game over.
Go back to work...or back to your parents basement.

witness2012
witness2012

jwalk, do you have anything other than ad hominem attacks? Something substantive, maybe?

John Fuller
John Fuller

Erwin is a moron.

Firemasta
Firemasta

Is anyone else concerned about how the police knew where the protesters live/work? Maybe I'm missing something but this turn of events has a bit of a Big Brother, we-know-where-you-live feeling to it... It seems to be a obvious question that is not answered by the article...

witness2012
witness2012

Firemasta, each of the people who were given tickets at home or work had been previously cited for holding a sign without a permit- even though the court decision last Thursday makes clear that they didn't need a permit to hold a hand-held sign.

But, they had to show their identification when they were issued their first citations and so, the capitol police have their home and work addresses on record. But, I expect they could just look any of us up, too- any time they want to.

G Gordon
G Gordon

Should read "The DOA needlessly installed 482 panic buttons to bolster the propaganda claims of Republican legislators." What a joke this new chief is. Blustering, hardheaded goon who feels threatened by a bunch of retirees, office workers on lunch break, and old hippies singing "Union Maid." What a wimp.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

"It's a clear case of harassment," he said. "And they made sure to do it where it couldn't be caught on camera, because they know it would get a lot of people upset."

Funny, serving legal papers is "a clear case of harassment" but occupying a public building and making yourself at home is your right.

Sorry, that dog don't hunt. Taxpayers have again gotten the bill, $103,172, for a bunch of radicals who seem to only want to push the boundaries of everyone else's patience. The protestors and apparently sever attention starved democrat representatives and senators seem to have forgotten that the state capital is first and foremost a building to conduct official business first and foremost.

The State Capital may be "the peoples house" but that does not make it a home for a bunch of malcontents.

carpenterblacksmith
carpenterblacksmith

Why are retired and older people singing protest songs on the lunch hour so threatening to you obvious fascist loving Republicans types?What possible harm are they doing ?Wag your dogs tale elsewhere because, I suspect that you are actually a paid troller with very little to offer in a constructive manner on this string at any time in the past....Join the I support Scott the Criminal Walker page on Facebook and spew your vapid vitriol over there where it might be appreciated by a much lower intellect on the food chain...

knittingnancy
knittingnancy

Wonder what the wiring system has cost us taxpayers this time. Just build a fortress to hold the nutjob republicans who need offices...an unused jail might be safe enough to please these wimps.

Migraine
Migraine

Article claims "Wireless" but you are right to think "wired" as the button is a GE 3040 wired panic button jury rigged to a what I guess is a door or water sensor transmitter mounted on a board. So someone did some home wiring on these.

Correction - This is to protect rule abiding people from the nutjob liberals.

53703
53703

Nobody panicks when people walk in with loaded weapons as per their permission. But signs and signing voices, holy hell, hit the button. BWAP BWAP BWAP BWAP

It's a lot more than some harmless signs and singing. Try Screaming, and extreme statements. Hate, anger, threats, etc Not all the time, but on Many, Many occasions it has risen to those levels. It's been a ticking time bobm and we are all lucky something more serious hasn't happened. Maybe you know how or when to stop, but when you get this many people riled up and you do not control it, sooner or later some wack job will not stop and will do something crazy. Your gun comment is wrong too. Please provide an example of a rule abiding person with a permit using one for a crime. I can provide thousands of examples of people using them for bad things. Those people carried them regardless of concealed carry or any other laws.

jfraker
jfraker

I athiught we were broke!!!

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