Armed guards staffing $6M non-working State House security syste - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Armed guards staffing $6M non-working State House security system

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There are signs of life at the $6 million taxpayer-funded security project around the State House grounds.

Officers are now staffing the once-empty guard shacks and entrances of the huge underground parking garage at the complex.

However, the project is still not working as intended.

Guards posted at the entrances have to physically stop cars because the arms and card readers that allow certain people access to the area remain non-functioning.

"For right now, we're monitoring things," said Capitol Police Chief Zackary Wise. "If we see something out of the ordinary or suspicious, we'll deal with it. But, until the system is completely turned on, we're just going to be in observation mode right now."

Wise placed armed officers inside the garage, which offers direct access to government office buildings and the back door of the State House. For years, anyone could get in and get out with very little resistance.

"We are staffing the garage right now and we're monitoring all the vehicles and pedestrians coming inside of the garage just as an added took to make sure the folks who are visiting the complex are safe, including the employees," said Wise.

But now, anyone without a state identification must go through a metal detector, and have bags scanned.

An investigation into the tax dollars spent on the system last year showed the project is more than $1 million over budget and five years behind.

Seventeen months ago, lawmakers ordered Budget and Control Board Director Marcia Adams to get the system running so police can secure the capitol.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the Budget and Control Board issued a statement on the continued delay with this security project. The agency assures us the card readers and access arms will be working by July 1.

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