Sacramento Police, CHP prepare for armed protests expected on Inauguration Day

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The Latest (Tuesday, Jan. 12):

A joint statement was released Tuesday by California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda Ray, Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security Advisor Mark Ghilarducci and California National Guard Adjutant Gen. David Baldwin:

Our collective agencies are working closely together and remain vigilant to respond to potential threats that may occur anywhere in the state, including the Capitol.  Collectively, we maintain strong relationships with our security and intelligence partners at the local, state, and federal levels and are continually monitoring and sharing information about possible emerging threats to the state. 

Together, our role is to safeguard lives and property and ensure that California remains a safe place for those who live, work, and travel within the state while ensuring the ability of individuals and groups to lawfully exercise their First Amendment rights. 

Original story below:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Local law enforcement agencies are stepping up their efforts to protect the California Capitol and surrounding area leading up to Inauguration Day.

The preparation comes as the FBI warns of planned, armed protests at all 50 state capitals and Washington, D.C.

“What we saw in Washington, D.C., is just a much bigger, worse version of what we’ve been seeing in Sacramento for two months straight now,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told FOX40.

Hahn said he was alarmed but not all that surprised by the riots in the nation’s Capitol last week. 

“It’s always a concern when you see it go as far as it did in D.C. but it’s also a concern because that’s exactly what we’ve seen here, just not to that scale,” Hahn explained. “Not that many people and they weren’t able to get into the Capitol like they were there but those same groups, that same ideology, that same effort was here.”

For the past several weeks, Hahn has sent around 200 officers to the California Capitol every Saturday where there have been weekly demonstrations staged by President Donald Trump supporters contesting the 2020 presidential election results.

Those demonstrators were met by counter-protesters, which led to several clashes between the groups and police, with some turning violent. 

“Our officers have been working a lot,” Hahn explained. “A lot of officers across this country have been getting their days off canceled, long hours, in extreme situations where they’re being yelled at, cussed at, thrown at, injured.”

With nine days until Inauguration Day, Hahn is preparing his officers for more unrest.

“We’re staffing up,” Hahn said. “Other agencies are staffing up.”

Hahn said the Inauguration Day protests could be more dangerous than previous demonstrations.

“This week and next week is presenting probably even larger concern than we’ve had in the recent past. Along the same lines in terms of the inauguration coming up and some of the rhetoric that we hear of people’s plans,” Hahn said.

But no matter what happens, Hahn said officers will be standing ready to protect both people and property. 

“I can guarantee you this: The officers of the Sacramento Police Department will be there, just like they’ve been there every weekend,” Hahn said. “And our fellow agencies will be there. Whether it’s Highway Patrol or other agencies in our region, we’ll be there to protect our Capitol and protect our community the best way we possibly can.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the State Capitol already has a heightened level of security and he will decide whether or not to activate the National Guard when the moment calls for it.  

FOX40 reached out to the California Highway Patrol, which monitors activity on Capitol grounds. CHP officials responded in part:

CHP Officers are always vigilant for potential threats that may occur at the State Capitol. We have personnel ready to respond to protect state property and ensure public safety as necessary. The CHP closely coordinates with allied agencies like the Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department where jurisdictional boundaries meet or if mutual aid is requested.

California Highway Patrol

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