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Suspicious letter causes evacuation of ADOC building

The state’s Criminal Justice Center, which houses the Alabama Department of Corrections and other law enforcement offices in downtown Montgomery, was evacuated for much of Tuesday because of a suspicious letter sent to the ADOC.

“The letter contained a powdery substance that turned out to be a harmless cellulose powder,” a statement from ADOC Tuesday afternoon said. “Safety protocol was followed by the ADOC Law Enforcement Services Division, and the building was cleared for normal operations at 2:30 p.m. There are cooperative state and federal investigations ongoing.”

Traffic Tuesday morning was diverted along Ripley Street as the Montgomery Fire Department, the Montgomery Police Department, the FBI and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency responded. 

The National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear unit was instrumental in identifying the powder, according to ADOC.

Separately Tuesday morning, a car was ablaze behind Alabama State House and within a block of ADOC at the Alabama State Employees Credit Union.

Tuesday was also member orientation for dozens of newly elected state senators and representatives.

Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris told Alabama Daily News that security protocols were increased when State House staff was alerted to the letter at the justice building.

“It has not had any effect on us,” Harris said about the scene up the street. “We kind of doubled up (on security) with everyone coming in and out of the building, to make sure it was OK.”

The new member orientation includes tours and discussions with veteran lawmakers and staff leaders.

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