Security Tight At Claremore Town Hall Event In Wake Of Arizona Shootings

Friday, January 21st 2011, 6:21 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

CLAREMORE, Oklahoma -- There was extra security for an Oklahoma congressman who made a visit to Claremore Friday. It came as Representative Gabrielle Giffords was in a rehab center in Houston.

The Arizona congresswoman left Tucson Friday morning. Her shooting has caused other members of Congress to take a fresh look at their security plans.

01/09/2011 Related Story: Rep. Sullivan Expects Changes In Wake Of Arizona Shootings

Rogers County Sheriff's deputies gathered at the Northeast Technology Center in Claremore. They were there to meet and then protect Congressman Dan Boren.

"We want a known presence as well as a quiet presence there," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

They came in uniform and plain clothes to act as personal security for one of our country's leaders. They're from the Claremore Police Department and the Rogers County Sheriff's office.

"We're Oklahomans we don't have a lot of problems. But there's always that one or two people that may be a little unstable and we want to make sure we have--not necessarily for me--but for our constituents, to have that security," said Rep. Dan Boren, (D) Oklahoma.

Congressman Boren asked the sheriff's office and Claremore P.D. to provide extra security for his town hall meeting.

It comes 13 days after Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot during a similar meeting in Arizona.

"We all know that an act like this by a sick mind, obviously I think, is fuel for other sick minds to maybe copy this or one up this in any one way that one could," Walton said.

Sheriff Walton says it's not uncommon for his deputies to provide security for visiting dignitaries. But, he says, the goal Friday was to make the security detail visible and look for anything out of the ordinary.

Congressman Boren says he's always felt safe at town hall meetings but has noticed a heightened sense of passion lately, especially after the 2009 town hall meetings on healthcare.

His goal, he says, is to protect everyone not just himself but also those who come to take part in democracy.

"Two minutes after the town meeting starts we'll probably forget about it but its better safe than sorry," Boren said.

Besides the extra deputies there were no other visible measures, like a metal detector or anything similar.

The deputies were already on duty and the security detail did not cost the county any additional money.