SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Following the tension and violence in Santa Fe over controversial historic statues, the city is adding security on the Plaza to make sure things don’t get out of hand again.
A more than 150-year-old monument is now gone. Last month, protesters tore down the obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza, saying the monument was oppressive to Native Americans. “Following the events surrounding the obelisk there were people who expressed to the city leadership some concerns about safety,” says Sam Burnett, Public Works Property Maintenance Manager.
So the city has decided to hire an armed security guard to patrol the Plaza 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “For the time being choosing to put security on the plaza allows the police department to do their job and at the same time it helps maintain or provide a safe environment for residents and visitors to Santa Fe,” Burnett says.
One downtown business owner says she’s disappointed in the actions of the protesters, “We should really really do things to improve our society not to destroy it,” says Uli Campbell. And says the added security will make her feel more comfortable going to work each day. “I think it’s necessary right now, unfortunately. I think people need to be safe,” Campbell says.
City leaders hope the extra security will prevent other incidents. “It really is the center of our community and I think it’s important to the leadership that it remains that, Burnett says.
For now, there will be just one security guard patrolling the Plaza. the city says that’s because they aren’t anticipating another incident as large as the obelisk protest. That security guard will start in the next couple of weeks and is contracted until June 30.
The City of Santa Fe has also seen an increase in incidents in other areas so they have added extra security there too, including a mobile patrol unit in parking garages and security guards at city parks. Those guards are not armed.
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