MONTPELIER, Vt. — Officials didn’t give many details, but citizens should expect increased law enforcement presence in the Capital City starting this weekend in the wake of the violence seen at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Officials held a briefing Monday with members of the media to discuss security at the State House. The timing was near perfect because in the middle of the briefing a report from ABC News stated the FBI has warned in an internal memo, “As of 10 January, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.”
On Jan. 6, supporters of President Donald Trump were able to get inside the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the election in which Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, won. The building was ransacked and five people, including a police officer, died.
Officials across the country are now making preparations to ensure the same doesn’t happen at state capitals or other points of interest ahead of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said since the incident in Washington, D.C., intelligence officials in the state have been in closer coordination than usual with each other and their federal partners.
“To monitor threat streams and to plan for any eventuality that might arise in the days to come,” Schirling said.
Without disclosing any threat mitigation strategies, he said officials are planning for multiple possible incidents, but so far there has not been any specific threat made relating to Vermont or the State House.
Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete said his department is working closely with Capitol Police and the Vermont State Police.
“We’re just going to make sure that we’re more visible and as dates of concern come close, there may be increased physical presence of law enforcement within Montpelier,” Peete said.
The chief said he’s comfortable with the resources at his disposa,l and if a threat does target the city, law enforcement will be able to mitigate it.
Schirling said state officials have been in contact with the Vermont National Guard ahead of any potential incidents this weekend and beyond, but only so far as to keep them in the loop so they aren’t caught flat-footed if they are called on to help.
Lucas Hall, a sergeant with the Vermont State Police, was suspended without pay last week after officials said it appeared he had expressed support on social media for those that took part in the violence at the U.S. Capitol.
The commissioner said the investigation into Hall is ongoing and he expected an announcement later this week. Schirling said he wasn’t aware of any other law enforcement officers in the state who have expressed support for the insurrectionists.