Law enforcement discussing protest preps ahead of planned events at state capitols

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 8:34 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Across the country, police agencies are upping security at many state capitol buildings.

The FBI is warning of possible armed protests.

Local law enforcement leaders are continuing conversations on how to keep our community safe.

As of Tuesday evening, those investigators say they do not know of any planned events in Evansville.

But, hundreds or more people have gathered downtown in recent years.

For this reason, police want to be prepared.

Wednesday, January 13th marks one week since the 2021 storming at the U.S. Capitol. A riot and violent attack against the 117th Congress was carried out by a mob of President Donald Trump supporters.

“I mean, we have extremists from both sides of the aisle, and they want to get their message out,” Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said reflecting on recent events. “They’ll get it out any way they can. Sometimes they’ll do it with the most damming consequences.”

On Tuesday, we learned of a new warning coming from federal agents to all 50 states.

There are concerns over possible armed protests at some state capitols starting as soon as Saturday, January 16.

“I think that’s probably more advantageous from somebody who wants to get into the mix of things,” Wedding added. “Going to the state capitol beats Evansville, Indiana.”

However, safety strategies are still taking shape locally.

Conversations continue between Evansville police and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s office.

Each of them agrees that they are not aware of protest being planned here but want to be prepared if that changes.

“You never know what each day is going to bring,” EPD Chief Billy Bolin stated. “It could be something that starts on the federal level or in D.C., and it becomes so chaotic that it does spread across the country and spread pretty rapidly. Our officers know we’re always on call.”

Chief Bolin says his department builds and learns from previous events.

For example, President Trump’s 2018 visit or more recently, a Black Lives Matter march last summer.

Both events drew large crowds downtown.

“Very hopeful and very optimistic that we’re not going need to put any of our plans in place, but we do have one if needed,” Bolin told 14 News.

Chief Bolin and Sheriff Wedding plan to have a meeting later this week.

Bolin added he is also in contact with federal sources.

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