WASHINGTON – The fence around the US Capitol on Tuesday is supported for the President’s message on the state of the Union. Police cars with flashes are parked at large intersections and highways. The U.S. National Guard is on standby.
This is a new norm.
Although there are no specific or credible threats to President Joe Biden’s speech, law enforcement officials are not at risk of following suit. events of January 6, 2021, when a fierce mob caught the District of Columbia by surprise and successfully stormed the U.S. Capitol, briefly violating Biden’s 2020 presidential victory certification.
Since then, U.S. Capitol police, tasked with protecting lawmakers and everyone in and around the Capitol, have tightened security at planned protests in the area. And this time, officials are also preparing for convoys of truckers who are planning protests against pandemic restrictions starting this week, although officials are not concerned about serious security concerns with possible protests.
Following the recent protests of truckers in Canada, individual convoys of trucks were planned through online forums. Many have different starting points, departure dates and itineraries, although some may arrive on time at Union State. Others may come later.
The State of the Union address is marked as a “special national security event” that clears the way for communication, funding, and training between several Washington agencies, including the Capitol Police Department, the Pentagon, Homeland Security, and District Police. Other such events are the Super Cup and the National Congresses of the Democratic and Republican Parties. The event is run by the US Secret Service.
Planning for the event takes several months, and officials are beginning to discuss how to improve security once the previous year’s event is over. Law enforcement officials never go into detail, so potential attackers are not reported. But law enforcement always takes into account the latest developments – from the uprising to the protests of truckers and other demonstrations of freedom of speech.
This work includes enhanced intelligence sharing and operational planning, a critical incident response plan for the U.S. Capitol, and a regional security assessment. Police in the capital have mobilized additional officers and put on alert a unit of the civil unrest department for at least the next week, two law enforcement officials told the AP. Officials were unable to publicly discuss the details of the training and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Investigators are tracking the conversation on the Internet, which includes a number of general threats against selected officials, but there are no specific or credible threats against the event, officials said.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Munger said Sunday that a fence is being erected around the Capitol grounds “with great care.”
The fence was a vivid symbol of the fear felt by many in the Capitol after a crowd on January 6 squeezed past crowded police officers, broke windows and doors and looted the Capitol. This remained for several monthsa reminder of how divided the nation was and how much work was before him in trying to repair the damage.
Since the fence first rose and fell, so be it was reinstalled once, briefly, at a rally in September that was organized in support of people who remained behind bars in connection with the uprising. Law enforcement and media outlets far outnumbered the protesters, and only a few incidents were reported. But Munger and other law enforcement officials said they absorb heat better for being too prepared than to relive a nightmare when you are far outnumbered by a tough crowd.
Manger said Capitol police also asked for additional help from outside law enforcement before Tuesday’s appeal, in addition to request for assistance from the National Guard.
The head of the metropolitan police department Robert Conti said that his department is closely monitoring the changing information and over the next few weeks will dedicate additional police on high alert.
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