Security Features For A New Arkansas Ten Commandments Monument Advance

Dec 5, 2017

Credit Wesley Brown / Talk Business & Politics

Proposed security features for the soon-to-be resurrected Ten Commandments monument on Arkansas’s state Capitol grounds have passed a first step. The monument was intentionally destroyed in June, within 24-hours of being erected, when a mentally ill man drove his car through it.

The American Heritage and History Foundation employed the services of architect Gary Clements to design security barriers before the state begins work on installing a new 6-foot tall granite tablet on the site of the old. On Tuesday, a subcommittee of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission approved the plan, which is essentially to install four, three-foot tall concrete posts around the Commandments.

“This is a reasonable security measure without going to the extreme, to where the security measure is all that you see,” says Clements, “The monument will be the primary focus and not the security measures in front of it.”

The non-profit foundation behind the monument’s construction is run by state Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow). It raised funds privately to pay for the monument’s construction, and re-construction. A number of groups opposed to the conjoining of church and state promise lawsuits as soon as the new monument is erected.

Kelly Boyd with the Secretary of State’s office says the posts, known as bollards, are similar to barriers elsewhere on the Capitol grounds. Several of them already encircle statues to the Little Rock Nine. He suggested that the Arts and Grounds Commission ought to consider bolstering security restrictions throughout the public grounds.

“I’d like for members of the commission to keep that in mind sometime next year I’d like for us to gather again and discuss utilization of this or some other type of safety feature throughout the campus of the state Capitol. We have a lot of areas where they would work and a lot of areas where they wouldn’t,” says Boyd. “I’d like for us just to consider that.”

A public hearing on the security features for the Ten Commandments display is slated for Thursday. Clements says each bollard costs between $300 and $400.

This story has been corrected to note the bollards are made of concrete, not cement - which is a component in making concrete.