- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2004

If anthrax, ricin or any other deadly substances are discovered at the Senate again, chances are good that Jay Anderson, private first class in the U.S. Capitol Police, will be one of the first on the scene.

When anthrax spores were identified in letters mailed to senators in October 2001, Pfc. Anderson helped seal off the Hart Senate Office Building.

After deadly ricin poison was cleared from the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Feb. 7, Pfc. Anderson was assigned to stand outside the Tennessee Republican’s door and hand out “Ricin Incident Fact Sheets” to anyone with questions.

His duties also involve escorting people out of Senate buildings when tempers flare and threats are hurled or calling a hazardous-materials team to check out unattended packages.

“I like the variety,” Pfc. Anderson, 33, says about his six years of work with the Capitol Police.

On any given day, he could be training recruits on how to conduct searches at building entrances, checking the trunks of cars that enter restricted areas, riding a mountain bike to patrol the 3.5-square-mile Capitol Hill area or filling out paperwork in his office.

Pfc. Anderson has seen security evolve quickly in the post-September 11 world.

“I think they’ve really tightened the grip on the access points of the buildings,” Pfc. Anderson says.

In addition, he said, Senate staff members show a greater willingness to cooperate in security efforts.

“People are much more attentive with the drills that we have,” he says.

Pfc. Anderson arrives at his job from Ashburn, Va., at 7 a.m. on weekdays and begins with “roll call.” A police sergeant updates the officers on the day’s event and assigns each of them to a specific duty.

On one typical late-winter day, Pfc. Anderson is assigned to be a “relief officer” in the morning. He will do half-hour stints at building entrances and outdoor kiosks, relieving other officers as they take breaks.

He uses another half-hour to pick up his ceremonial pin at a Capitol Police supply center in the Ford House Office Building.

The pin distinguishes Pfc. Anderson as a member of a Capitol Police honor guard for state funerals, graduations and other ceremonies.

“It’s quite an honor,” Pfc. Anderson says.

He takes lunch from 11 a.m. to noon at the fourth-floor break room in the Capitol Police headquarters at 119 D St. NE.

He spends the next hour doing “administrative work,” which involves filling out schedules, answering questions by telephone and sending or receiving faxes.

“It’s my least favorite thing to do,” he says. “I think I prefer to work outside on a regular basis.”

The rest of the afternoon is spent on foot patrol of the three Senate office buildings that make up Pfc. Anderson’s “sector.”

A restroom being renovated in the Dirksen Senate Office Building attracts his attention on this day.

The workers have left for the day, leaving the restroom open but unusable because of the renovation work.

“I like to go inside and make sure there’s no one inside who shouldn’t be there,” he says. “Sometimes a homeless person will go in there and go to sleep or something.”

Patrolling outside the buildings, he finds a cardboard box. He checks it to make certain it is empty and then throws it into a nearby garbage bin.

“It was just a routine day,” Pfc. Anderson says. “It’s a little slower than usual because the Senate is not in session.”

Pfc. Anderson also is a family man. When not at his job, “I like to stay at home and have fun with my kids,” he says.

He and his wife, a tax preparer, have three children ages 2 to 8.

He is originally from Shreveport, La., the oldest of seven children in a Southern Baptist family.

He became familiar with the Washington area while serving in the Army at Fort Myer and decided to stay.

“There’s a lot to do, a lot to see,” Pfc. Anderson says. “There’s a lot of great opportunities, especially in the field of law enforcement.”

One weekend a month, he continues his military career of the past 16 years as a National Guardsman.

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