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Former Arsenal Director explains process of resecuring U.S. Capitol

Jason Lavoie of Raymond, carries both the retired Mississippi state flag and a Trump flag as he...
Jason Lavoie of Raymond, carries both the retired Mississippi state flag and a Trump flag as he joined a small group of people that protested the constitutional process to affirm President-Elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The group also called for a revote on the state flag issue that would provide voters a choice of flags. Many of the protestors favored the retired state flag that incorporated a Confederate battle emblem. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 10:50 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Congress has resumed its session again, but before they could reenter, some intensive work had to be done to make sure the U.S. Capitol building was safe.

“I think this is a new era, unfortunately where we’re entering,” Scott Sweetow said.

Scott Sweetow, former acting director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) at the Redstone Arsenal, says regaining control over hundreds of protesters is no simple task.

“You have a site where you have Capitol police officers that have their long guns deployed, essentially automatic weapons, you have them with less lethal pepper ball weapons and things to try to repel people that have descended on the U.S. Capitol. That is not the kind of thing that you would expect in the United States. And it’s incredibly dangerous,” he said.

Sweetow says now the Capitol police officers have to expect the worst.

“You had people that literally took over the speaker’s dias. You had people go into the House Speaker’s office and pose behind her desk. You don’t know what sort of things may have been left behind,” Sweetow said.

So every nook and cranny will need to be searched.

“You’re going to have to go in their with explosive detection canines and make sure that there was nothing left behind. Even something as simple as a backpack, that was left behind by one of the protesters has to be cleared. And that’s going to take a tremendous amount of time,” he explained.

Sweetow says what Americans need to see now is reassurance.

“We need the senior leadership of our country to reassure people that everything is going to be ok. That the process that’s underway now is going to be concluded. That it’s going to be done peacefully,” he said.

This is not the first time armed people broke into the Capitol.

A group of Puerto Rican nationalists broke into a Congress session and shot five members in 1954.

But now that this has happened, Sweetow says there will be a lot of lessons to be learned.

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