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Crime & Justice

Austin Police Ramp Up Security Ahead Of Inauguration Day

Closed Capitol.jpg
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
The Texas Department of Public Safety closed the state Capitol grounds through Inauguration Day on Wednesday in response to warnings of potential armed protests.

The Austin Police Department says it has put together a "robust" plan to ensure the safety of the city on Inauguration Day.

There are no known threats to the city, but APD does anticipate people will gather Wednesday, likely around the state Capitol, Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon said during a news conference Tuesday.

“We’re not really seeing a lot out there with regards to rival groups coming out, but we’re certainly prepared for that,” he said.

Chacon said the department is on tactical alert until further notice, meaning every officer is in uniform and is ready to respond at a moment’s notice to any type of scenario where crowd control may be needed.

“We have put a robust plan into place to ensure the safety of the citizens of Austin,” he said. “All the intelligence coming out of the intelligence community, specifically really being driven by the FBI, has been taken into account to ensure that we are keeping up with all the facts as we know them.”

The department has sent 49 officers to support the Washington, D.C., metro police on Inauguration Day. Chacon said this is not a new effort; it’ll be the fifth time APD has deployed officers to help D.C. police. What’s different this year, he said, is that APD sent a smaller number of officers than normal to ensure it has enough here to keep Austin safe.

“That is our number one priority,” Chacon said. “But with the events that we saw on Jan. 6 in our U.S. Capitol, I think it’s more important than ever that we contribute to the effort to keep our president safe.”

Law enforcement agencies across the country are taking steps to increase security after reports of possible armed protests in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The Texas Department of Public Safety closed state Capitol grounds Saturday through Wednesday as a precaution. In announcing the closure, DPS said it had been made aware of events planned by “violent extremists” ahead of the inauguration.

Got a tip? Email Marisa Charpentier at mcharpentier@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.

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