Gov. Walz, Law Enforcement Prepare for Potential Threats on Inauguration Day
ST. PAUL, Minn.– Tensions continue to rise across the country as the Presidential Inauguration nears. Now some states are taking extra precautions to make sure their own capitol buildings are safe.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and other state leaders laid out some of their plans for next week as they try to protect the capitol and the surrounding area from potential threats.
The governor said he’s working with law enforcement, taking every action necessary to make sure the state capitol is protected. In response to last week’s capitol riots, an act Walz says was an insurrection incited by the president.
“We take the threats to our capitol and to our citizens very seriously,” said Walz.
While there is no credible threat directed at the capitol at this time, officials are stepping up security in the coming days as a precaution. This includes activating the National Guard along with increased law enforcement presence. As inauguration day approaches, Walz says he feels comfortable with the plans in place.
“While we take these threats seriously, I can assure Minnesotans the preparation is as professional as you can get,” said Walz. “The coordination is happening, the emergency operations centers are open and coordinating together.”
Leaders of the Minnesota National Guard have activated members of the 257th Military Police Company. With leaders adding, the number of troops can be scaled up or down depending on the situation.
During the last year the National Guard has been activated for assistance fighting COVID-19 and to help keep peace during protests following the death of George Floyd. Major General Sean Manke says he respects the right for people to protest but doesn’t want it to devolve into chaos.
“We are ready and committed to serve the greater community of Minnesota and proud to serve the safety of our citizens and serve in the continuation of democracy,” said Gen. Manke.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, St. Paul Police Department, and other law enforcement bodies have been in contact with the FBI and department of homeland security to track any potential threats.
While they won’t reveal exact details, John Harrington, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, says that this is one of the best, most solid plans he’s been involved with to keep Minnesotans safe.
“We have looked at all of the vulnerabilities around the capitol and around possible attacks and no matter how small or how large, we have taken the right steps to stop that from happening,” said Harrington.
Along with the added security in St. Paul, the Minnesota National Guard is also sending 850 guardsmen to Washington D.C. for inauguration day by request from the federal government.