Long to-do list: Capitol coordinator job will require 'crisis intervention' experience


The job is essentially a Swiss army knife.

If you're the chief sergeant-at-arms at the Minnesota House, you're in charge of carrying out all orders of the House or the Speaker, including maintaining order in the Chamber and supervising anyone who goes in and out, according to the chief clerk's office.

You're also in charge of managing the House post office, assigning parking spaces, issuing I.D. cards, distributing keys for offices, delivering messages, unlocking rooms, among other things, the sergeant-at-arms office website says.

It's a lot. But add another responsibility to the list.

The House is requiring more of the next chief sergeant-at-arms, including 10-plus years experience as a peace officer and background in "crisis intervention techniques" – someone who can assess risks and know what to do if there's a threat to House members or the public, according to the job posting.

Why the change?

The Associated Press notes the job has traditionally been more of "coordinator and hall monitor than Capitol cop."

The new "crisis intervention" requirement comes at a time when security at government buildings is a concern around the world – just a few months ago, the chief sergeant-at-arms for the Canadian Parliament gunned down a man who stormed Parliament Hill after killing a soldier.

House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, told The AP the chief sergeant job has been unstable over the years, shifting with the changing political climate in the House. But now, the new post is nonpartisan and the chief will have a louder voice in building safety, working closer with Capitol Security and the State Patrol.

Applications for the position were due Dec. 1 and candidates are expected to be interviewed this week.

What is the chief sergeant-at-arms?

The House speaker appoints the chief sergeant-at-arms at the beginning of the odd year session, and the position is typically held for the full two years, according to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.

The responsibilities of chief sergeant-at-arms around the country vary.

Some require law enforcement backgrounds and task them with heading Capitol security, while others are former legislators with no police experience, Roll Call notes. Currently, the chief sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. House of Representatives is the former assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service and served as a special agent with the secret service for 25 years.

It's not known if the new chief sergeant-at-arms for the Minnesota House will carry a weapon, but lawmakers told The AP the person hired will likely have the proper training and certification from their previous job to carry one.

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