The Secret Service is planning to add an additional five feet to the White House fence and a bolstered concrete foundation in response to the recent rash of fence jumpers breaching security.
The Secret Service is still awaiting formal approval of the new design, which they hope to begin building in 2018. The new fence will be built specifically to deter fence jumpers, with “anti-climb features” and “intrusion detection technology.”
“The [current] fence is entirely scale-able, depending upon the circumstances,” Tom Dougherty, a Secret Service official, said in a private briefing according to NBC4. “And we have now a society that tends to want to jump over the fence and onto the 18 acres.”
The National Capital Planning Commission will hear a presentation on the new design, featuring a height of 11 feet and seven inches, on May 5 and will decide whether or not the construction can proceed, reports NBC Washington.
A purse robber who apparently did not know he was breaching White House security scaled a fence near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Tuesday, causing a half hour lockdown. Earlier in April the Secret Service arrested a man who scaled the fence intentionally. A White House fence jumper made it all the way through the grounds and into the building in 2014, leading to the resignation of the Secret Service Director. (RELATED: Purse Robbery In DC Ends With White House Lockdown)
“The current fence simply is not adequate for a modern era,” Dougherty said in the briefing. “We’ve said that before. It is becoming more and more acutely clear that that is in fact the case.”
The National Parks Service will assist the Secret Service with construction, if the planning is approved by the National Capital Planning Commission. The White House added spikes to the fence in 2015 called “pencil points,” however breaches continue to occur.
Secret Service officials said in a statement obtained by NBC4, “There are still several additional steps before construction could begin on a new fence, and a timeline is not concrete.”
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