April 19, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Senate Staffers Instructed to ‘Attack’ in Gunman Situation

Tom Williams/Roll Call

“As we saw here in the tragedy in Tucson, staff is at risk as much as Members are at risk,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said. “I’ve been talking with my staff in the district and just to get their views and their thoughts about how we might do anything differently than we are doing.”

Even before the deadly attack, Rep. Norm Dicks said he noticed that this past term and the most recent campaign included more threats than he had ever seen in his Congressional career.

“We’ve had to go to court to get restraining orders during the campaign,” the Washington Democrat said. Now, “we’re locking our doors so that there’s a waiting area and you can tell who [the visitor] is, because we have had problems with local people in the district.”

Rep. Bobby Rush is considering moving his district office, located on Chicago’s south side, to a safer part of the city in response to staff concerns about recent slayings in the area, the Democrat’s spokeswoman Sharon Jenkins said.

Other Members, such as Rep. G.K. Butterfield, have said they will simply beef up security in their district offices.

“I’m going to make sure we have a bulletproof entrance, and we’ll probably do some other things, simple things, like putting the chief of police on speed dial,” the North Carolina Democrat said.

In Texas, staffers to Rep. Silvestre Reyes often go out alone on mobile constituent service trips, the Democrat said. But he’s spoken to his staff since the Arizona shooting and is now instituting the buddy system.

“Some of them felt uncomfortable with some of the situations where constituents had had comments,” he said. “And so we’re sending two staffers now.”

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