WSP Prepared for Trump-Related Congressional Disruption
In preparation for former President Donald Trump’s arraignment in New York on Tuesday, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) is increasing security at the State Capitol in Olympia. The WSP has not seen any signs of a repeat of the violence on the Capitol Campus on January 6. The organization responsible for campus safety and law enforcement is bracing for the worst.
“We’re going to be extra vigilant — more so than we always are,” said WSP Communications Director Chris Loftis. “We always have a safety and security presence here on the capitol campus.” The WSP, the FBI, and several local authorities monitor online activity to detect any signs that trouble-making organizations are organizing new protests.
“We monitor internet chatter and announcements of meetings and people who have declared they’re going to come and demonstrate and protest and that sort of thing,” Loftis said. “We do that all the time.” There have been no warning signs of harmful conduct.
“At this point, there’s nothing on the threat board — no one asking for permitting to do a large-scale demonstration, there’s no one announcing on their web pages or chat boards or anything of that nature that they’re going to come in numbers and do any harm,” Loftis said. Yet, the troops will be prepared. Security at our state Capitol was increased by the WSP after the assault on the nation’s capital on January 6.
“We have more staff on site than we had then. We have more resources,” Loftis said. “There are more camera resources. There are more vehicular resources. We have people on foot patrol. We always have people on bicycle patrol. We have people in their vehicles patrolling.”
Even if you can’t see any additional security measures, it doesn’t imply they aren’t there. The goal is to have security seem normal to someone not looking for it. “For every resource that you see, as far as security and safety resources, you can be assured that there’s likely a resource that you don’t see,” Loftis said.
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The Olympia Capitol Campus presents one difficulty since it is the biggest in the nation. Despite the aesthetic value of the area’s many trees and plants, they also provide a security risk.
“We’re always ready. We have to be. That’s part of the job,” Loftis said. “At this point, we don’t have anything telling us to be at a specific place at a specific time with a specific group of folks, but we’ll be ready.”
Loftis invites anyone who disagrees with the Trump indictment to come to express their First Amendment rights peacefully, warning that violence, threats, and disruption of the peace would not be tolerated.
“Everybody is welcome to come and say their piece. You’re welcome to come and be as passionate about your point of view as you wish to be,” he said. “But you are not welcome to come and harm other people, and you are not welcome to come and harm property, you are not welcome to come and interfere with the processes of government.”