Law Enforcement, Legislators Cautious of Suspicious Packages at Capitol

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SACRAMENTO -- Law enforcement and legislators kept a cautious eye out for suspicious packages Wednesday after several were sent around the country.

"That's part of the job," Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, told FOX40. "We signed up for this."

Cooper says the suspicious packages and devices discovered Wednesday are being taken very seriously.

“So before any packages come to the building, it’s screened off-site by the California Highway Patrol and they make sure there’s not any suspicious devices or any contents that would be harmful to the employees here. So it’s a very thorough process," Cooper said.

The Capitol Building is also well protected. There have been many security upgrades since 2001, when a driver intentionally crashed a big rig truck into the building’s south entrance.

But while mail to lawmakers is screened before being delivered to the Capitol, Cooper admits it’s difficult to protect home addresses.

"I think in this day and age with the internet if someone wants to find you they will," he told FOX40. "You just got to be very careful if you see something suspicious in the mail or around your house call law enforcement."

As a former law enforcement officer himself, Cooper says he knows how anyone could become a target.

"Some of these folks really don’t think clearly. Some of them have mental health issues for a merit of reasons. And depending on what your view of politics is in the country, it can really vary.”

Sadly, Cooper says, threats have become a part of the job working in politics.

"It’s common to get letters. Disgruntled people and, you know, some people take it very seriously. A lot of misinformation," Cooper said. "So some folks see things on the internet when they believe that to be the truth, but it’s an untruth. It fires them up and they send you a letter."

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