State Police, Capitol ramp up security ahead of Inauguration Day
States across the country are ramping up security at their capitol buildings after the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned of potential planned "armed protests" at all 50 state capitols.
According to CNN, an internal FBI bulletin suggested the bureau was investigating threats of an 'uprising' if President Donald Trump were removed from office before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
States across the nation are responding with swift action, quickly implementing additional security measures that will squelch potential threats.
According to CNN, the states listed below are addressing security issues with the following measures:
Louisiana State Police issued the following statement regarding its security measures ahead of Inauguration Day in Washington D.C. on Jan. 20: "Louisiana State Police is aware of the planned protests at the State Capitol and is working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to coordinate security protocols. As with previous protest events across the state, the Louisiana State Analytical & Fusion Exchange continually monitors potential security concerns and will be providing pertinent information to our public safety personnel to ensure safety for protesters, Capitol grounds and staff, and the surrounding community.
In coordination with Capitol staff and the Department of Public Safety Police, LSP will have personnel in place to ensure a safe environment and to protect the rights of our citizens to hold a peaceful gathering.
We will not be able to provide specific information regarding protest security measures and cannot comment on the security protocols concerning the Governor's Mansion and Louisiana State Capitol."
In Michigan, the state's Capitol Commission outlawed the open carry of firearms inside the Capitol building in Lansing starting Monday.
This was in response to the US Capitol riot as well as the spring incidents in which heavily armed demonstrators crowded inside the state Capitol to protest pandemic-related lockdowns. In addition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, was the target in an alleged domestic conspiracy planned by members of right-wing militia groups.
However, the policy change only impacts public areas inside the building and does not change policy on the Capitol grounds, nor does it prevent licensed concealed pistol carry that follows state laws, according to the commission policy.
"The Capitol Commission's action to ban open carry guns at the Capitol is a good start, but more action is needed," Whitmer said in a statement Monday.
Shanon Banner, spokesperson for Michigan State Police, said they are aware of the march on state capitols being promoted online, and they will continue watching for security threats.
"Our security planning is fluid and adjustments are made as needed, from day-to-day," Banner said. "Security enhancements that can be put in place include both seen and unseen measures. In general, we don't discuss security measures, but I can confirm that out of an abundance of caution, we are increasing our visible presence at the Capitol for the next couple of weeks starting today."
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor also asked Gov. Whitmer to activate the Michigan National Guard to implement additional security and crowd control measures around the state Capitol on Sunday and on Inauguration Day.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has commissioned the state National Guard to assist Capitol Police in Madison, the governor's office said in a news release Monday.
"Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will mobilize to state active duty to support safety and security efforts at the State Capitol in Madison," read the release. "The Wisconsin National Guard will serve in a support role to local authorities and conduct a site security mission."
According to the release, the troops are equipped to respond to requests for assistance on short notice and are part of the Wisconsin National Guard Reaction Force.
"The mobilized troops will serve in a State Active Duty status in support of the Capitol Police. To protect operational security, the Wisconsin National Guard will not discuss troop numbers, movements, timelines, equipment, tactics, or procedures."
In addition, first-floor windows at the Capitol in Madison were boarded up on Monday ahead of potential protests.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said they were aware of the planned protests but noted that the state's Capitol Complex in Harrisburg has been closed to the public since December due to the current COVID health crisis.
"The Capitol Police will continue to work with state and local law enforcement to maintain peace at the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg," press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger said.
Wolf said Thursday that about 1,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members have been activated to support the DC National Guard in support of civilian authorities in Washington, DC. The Pennsylvania National Guard has about 19,000 members in all.
"Pennsylvania Guard members are well-trained and well-prepared to assist our communities, commonwealth and country in any way they can," said acting Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler. "We are also very fortunate that our Guard members have extensive experience working alongside the DC National Guard as part of past training events and presidential inaugurations."
On Tuesday, Wolf said they "have not heard anything specifically" about protests but are "ready for anything that might happen."
Georgia's state Capitol in Atlanta has already been the site of recent protests that heightened security concerns. Last week, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was helped out of the Capitol as a precaution as a small group of pro-Trump protesters gathered outside, according to local news stations.
The state kicked off its 2021 legislative session on Monday with increased security around the building, including a new fence and armed guards.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said it is aware of reports concerning possible armed protests in the coming days.
"We are in communication with our partners and will continue to do what is necessary to ensure safety and security," GBI Public Affairs Director Nelly Miles said.
Atlanta Police added that they are also working with their partners to address security concerns.
"The City of Atlanta Police Department (APD) continues to coordinate with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to respond should protests or illegal activity occur. If activity begins to occur, APD is prepared to respond quickly. We do not share operational or security plans. However, the safety and security of our city and citizens is our priority," police said.
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