RICHMOND, Va. — Citing the importance of keeping under the fiscal budget, Gov. Ralph Northam plans to reduce nightly security around the Capitol and instead protect the Executive Mansion himself by sitting on the front porch in his rocking chair with a shotgun over his shoulder.
On the evening of his inauguration, Northam dismissed the Capitol Police officers assigned to protect him and was later seen at dusk placing a lone rocking chair on the front porch. He then settled in to the chair with a double barrel shotgun and a glass of tea to keep watch for the night.
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“Our Capitol Police force is top notch,” Northam said in a recent interview from his post in the rocking chair. “Those men and women have better things to do than look after me. We’ll be just fine here.”
Gesturing toward the Stoeger Coach Supreme double barrel shotgun placed in his lap, he added with a sly grin, “And if there’s trouble, there ain’t nothing me and old Gladys can’t handle.”
Northam also dispatched a pair of trusty hound dogs to roam the grounds of the mansion and alert him should they encounter an intruder.
Chief Mary S. Barber, who heads the Division of Capitol Police, admitted she did not take Northam seriously at first.
“I tried to explain to Gov. Northam that it’s our sworn duty to protect him and the integrity of the Executive Mansion,” Barber said. “But he just wouldn’t have it. Two officers reported for duty the next night and he just offered them some bottled water and sent them away.”
Despite the governor’s intentions, Barber has reportedly instructed her officers to sit in a car outside the mansion gate just in case the governor needs back up or falls asleep.
Northam was last seen at Bass Pro Shops eagerly purchasing thermal outdoor clothing and shotgun shells.
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