LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State Police discussed some of the preparations they have been making for any potential protests in the lead up to President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Although exact numbers and tactics are not being released to the public, Troop G commander Major Chris West said there will be an increased State Police presence at the New York State Capitol and the New York National Guard are on standby.
Fears of civic unrest stem from the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6 as a joint session to confirm the results of the 2020 Presidential Election was being held.
“Protests are nothing new to Albany or the State Capitol. We handle dozens every year and we work closely with the FBI, Albany Police Department and the County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of protesters and the public.
We have no problem at all with peaceful protests. However, we want to make sure this is clearly understood. Anyone who comes to the Capitol with the intention of causing violence or damage to public property will be arrested. We have zero tolerance for anyone who incites or causes any violence.”Major Chris West, NYSP Troop G Commander
Following those events, New York State Police, along with other law enforcement agencies, closed the State Street entrance to the New York Capitol building and requested State Street be closed to motor vehicle traffic.
Major West acknowledged there have been calls for armed demonstrations at state capitols across the country, though law enforcement officials are unaware of any credible threat to Albany.
Despite the preparations, the FBI’s Albany field office has stated that there are no specific threats to the New York State Capitol in the lead up to, or on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Thomas Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albany Field Office, repeated this statement during the Friday afternoon conference at Troop G headquarters.
A number of figures, including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, have been discussing how to prepare the region for any potential unrest.