CAPTIAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Leading up to the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden, multiple levels of law enforcement are preparing for what could be an active week in New York’s Capitol.
In response to FBI bulletin saying rallies were planned in all 50 states. On Thursday, local and federal officials held press conferences addressing the safety measures that will be put in place this weekend if any local protests happen and turn violent.
“Violence is not speech. Stabbing, shooting, destroying property, or hurting other people — that’s not speech. Those are criminal acts and they should and must be prosecuted,” says Antoinette Bacon Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York.
It’s a combined effort between local, state and federal officials. Officials say the riots that happened on Capitol Hill last week can’t happen back here at home. “We support free speech. What we do not support is a call to violence or destruction to property,” says Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
The City of Albany is no stranger to protests, and for those who choose to protest, Mayor Sheehan encourages it to be peaceful. Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins says the department has not received or heard of any reports of potential threats, however, they are prepared if any violence were to arise.
“There will be an increased presence of law enforcement agencies both Albany as well as other levels of law enforcement in the City of Albany on Sunday the 17th. Also, the days leading into the inauguration on Wednesday the 20th,” says Chief Hawkins.
Law enforcement agencies are all working together to ensure that protesters, residents and tourists are safe. Law enforcement officials are also asking for the public’s help. “We are urging people to call 1-800-call FB with any tips or information. We’re asking for people to report any suspicious or criminal activity. Again, every resource for the FBI is dedicated into keeping this community safe,” says Thomas Relford, a Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albany Field Office.
Barriers have already been put in place outside of the State Capitol. Chief Hawkins encourages residents to avoid the downtown area, if possible, for the next couple of days.