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In the days and months after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, we recall the added security measures that came about.

Many, such as ones in airports, came about quickly. Others took effect over time.

Here in Jefferson City, the seat of state government, many changes took place in our public buildings, including the Capitol and state office buildings. Our city and county took similar measures.

As we recently reported, walk-through metal detectors, concrete barriers and a more attentive atmosphere were all included in Missouri's approach to security in the post-9/11 era.

In the Truman Office Building, the state established security metal detectors and concrete barriers — which later became permanent bollards. The measure protects more than 2,100 state employees who work in the building.

Before 9/11, you could walk into and through many buildings unencumbered. Now, in many buildings, there's an expectation that you have an appointment or scheduled hearing.

It could be argued that the security measures have been an affront to the openness of our public buildings, even ones designed to accommodate tours such as the Capitol and the Governor's Mansion.

Public buildings are just that — they're owned by the public and they should be open to the public.

But we would argue that the security measures implemented in Jefferson City generally pose small inconveniences and are a small price to pay for the added protection.

It's hard to determine a return on investment as we'll never know whether the added security has prevented harmful incidents. But we suspect it does discourage would-be perpetrators from attempting to harm us.

We always need to stay vigilant. So we thank our local, county and state governments for keeping us safe, while still giving us access to our public buildings.

News Tribune

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