Huffpost Politics

Gary Herbert Seeks Security Review After Utah Capitol Incident

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UTAH CAPITOL BUILDING
A television crew stands on the top steps of the State Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac) | AP

SALT LAKE CITY -- SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has requested a security review at the state Capitol building after a Layton man drove his truck up the building's steps earlier this week.

Speaking at his monthly televised news conference on KUED-TV on Thursday, Herbert said that as a government official who is sometimes a target, he was worried about the incident.

The Utah Highway Patrol, which oversees Utah Capitol security, said troopers watched on security cameras Tuesday afternoon as 36-year-old Gerald Weston Green drove his pickup truck up about two dozen steps on the building's west side.

Troopers confronted him on the building's third floor, where they stunned Green with a Taser, punched him in the face and arrested him.

Green has been hospitalized since the incident, and authorities said Wednesday they discovered he was growing marijuana in his home.

Green said he went to the Capitol to promote marijuana legalization, the state Department of Public Safety said.

The governor said he requested the security review after seeing how easily Green accessed the Capitol, and the manner in which he did.

"We have a very open and accessible Capitol," Herbert said. "That's a good thing, but we need to make sure that legislators and others who work there are in a safe environment."

After Green drove up about two dozen steps and parked outside the building's west-side doors, he made his way up to the third floor on the building's east side, the Utah Highway Patrol said.

Troopers then confronted Green as he began pounding on the door of a ceremonial room, which was locked and is not regularly used.

Utah's Capitol is not outfitted with metal detectors. Gun owners with concealed weapons permits are allowed to bring their firearms in the building, which lawmakers do.

Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Cpl. Todd Johnson told The Associated Press on Thursday that security is increased when the Legislature is in session, but he didn't have specific details about the staffing levels.

Medical staff will decide when Green can be released from the hospital, but Johnson said Green is expected to remain there at least through Friday.

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