The California Highway Patrol ordered a statewide tactical alert Friday to increase available officers in anticipation of possible civil unrest leading up to the presidential inauguration, authorities said.
The alert allows CHP to increase overall awareness and the number of officers available to help protect state highways, state buildings, and the state Capitol in Sacramento.
“For many months, the CHP has worked closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure the outcome of the election will be respected and that any protests which may occur are free from violence,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray in a statement. “As such, the CHP is prepared to respond to any potential threats which may arise statewide.”
The CHP previously ordered statewide tactical alerts on Election Day in November and during protests and uprisings after the high-profile police killings of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor, a Black woman in Louisville, said CHP Lt. Jathan Casteneda, a spokesman for the agency.
The possibility of violence resumed following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, where President Donald Trump incited a mob to attack and break into the congressional building. Five people died and dozens more were injured in the riot.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday called on the California Army National Guard to boost security at the state Capitol after the FBI warned of violence at all 50 state capitols leading up to the Jan. 20 swearing in of President-Elect Joseph Biden. One thousand guard members will support the CHP in their security plans.
Also this week, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to temporarily remove 14 blue mail collection boxes in Los Angeles and Orange counties as a safety precaution ahead of potential rallies.
Some experts who study violent extremism said such violence could extend beyond Jan. 20, particularly among right-wing extremist and white supremacist groups.
Echoing statements from local law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California, Lt. Castaneda said they are not aware of any credible threats toward property or people surrounding the inauguration, but said they are ready.
“We are watching closely for sure, but we just don’t have intel saying something definite is brewing,” Castaneda said.
Source: Orange County Register