Capitol Police Respond to Vandalism Case

WSFA 12 News was first to show you vandalism at the state's confederate memorial on the grounds of the state capitol. As the search for the culprits begins, many people are asking how this could have happened.

"I'm disgusted," said Governor Bob Riley when he saw the damage. Someone sprayed black paint on the faces and hands of four statues, which make up the memorial. Graffiti can also be seen on a side panel.

"We're going to do everything we can to find out who did it and make sure they are properly punished," said Governor Riley.

Investigators began their probe with surveillance video with hopes of identifying suspects.

Whoever defaced the monument obviously took their time. They not only painted all four of the statues, but also jumped a fence and climbed the monument itself. So why didn't anyone spot them?

WSFA 12 News posted that question to the capitol police, who are charged with patrolling not only the capitol, but all state government buildings downtown.

Lt. Mark Whitaker's answer was two-fold.

First, Whitaker says it's impossible to question or search every tourist who drops by the capitol.

"It's open to the public and that makes it a little harder for us to keep it secure," he explained.

But more importantly, Whitaker says there is a lack of manpower.

"We don't have an officer on every corner," he said.

Whitaker says there are usually only 2 officers patrolling the entire capitol complex during the overnight hours. There are only 30 officers total, but he could use at least ten more.

"Law enforcement in general has had a shortage of officers for years," Whitaker explained. "We're trying to attract better candidates because this is a real important job."

Capitol police patrol government buildings by car, bicycle and on foot. They say they're always looking for ways to improve security and will use the most recent incident as a learning experience.

If you notice suspicious activity around the capitol you can call 911 to report it.

So far, no word on when crews will start removing the black paint and graffiti from the memorial.

Reporter: Mark Bullock