WSP prepares for any Trump-related unrest at WA State Capitol
Mar 31, 2023, 3:33 PM | Updated: 7:54 pm
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is beefing up security at the State Capitol in Olympia in case of any possible violence when former President Donald Trump is arraigned in New York on Tuesday.
So far, the WSP does not expect a copycat of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol Campus.
However, the agency, which provides law enforcement and security for the campus, is preparing for the worst.
Seattle mayor approves $970M levy to fund affordable housing projects
“We’re going to be extra vigilant — more so than we always are,” said WSP Communications Director Chris Loftis. “We always have a safety and security presence here on the capitol campus.”
The WSP, the FBI, and numerous local agencies are watching social media and other websites closely to see if groups that have caused trouble in the past are planning any demonstrations.
“We monitor internet chatter and announcements of meetings and people who have declared they’re going to come and demonstrate and protest and that sort of thing,” Loftis said. “We do that all the time.”
So far, there are no indications of any bad behavior to come.
“At this point, there’s nothing on the threat board — no one asking for permitting to do a large-scale demonstration, there’s no one announcing on their web pages or chat boards or anything of that nature that they’re going to come in numbers and do any harm,” Loftis said.
Still, troopers will be ready.
After the Jan. 6 attack on our nation’s Capitol, the WSP heightened its security at our state’s counterpart.
“We have more staff on site than we had then, we have more resources,” Loftis said. “There are more camera resources, there are more vehicular resources. We have people on foot patrol, we always have people on bicycle patrol, we have people in their vehicles patrolling.”
Just because you may not be able to spot the extra security, that does not mean that it is not there. The idea is for security to not be immediately obvious to the untrained eye.
“For every resource that you see, as far as security and safety resources, you can be assured that there’s likely a resource that you don’t see,” Loftis said.
One of the challenges of Olympia’s Capitol Campus is that it is the largest in the country, due to its lakes and trails. While this nature provides beauty, the many trees and bushes also can provide cover to bad actors.
“We’re always ready. We have to be, that’s part of the job,” Loftis said. “At this point, we don’t have anything that is telling us to be at a specific place at a specific time with a specific group of folks, but we’ll be ready.”
More from Nicole Jennings: City of Kirkland hopeful hotel purchase will fill homeless shelter gaps
While harming people or property, making threats, and disrupting the peace will not be permitted, Loftis encourages people to come exercise their Constitutional rights and make their opinions on the Trump indictment known in a non-violent way.
“Everybody is welcome to come and say their piece. You’re welcome to come and be as passionate about your point of view as you wish to be,” he said. “But you are not welcome to come and harm other people, you are not welcome to come and harm property, you are not welcome to come and interfere with the processes of government.”