Pa. law enforcement explains preparations for potential weekend riots at state Capitol


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania law enforcement is preparing for potential riots at our state capitol. They’re working to prevent the deadly violence that rocked our nation’s Capitol building on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The Pennsylvania Capitol Police are increasing the presence of their officers around the capitol complex. Superintendent Joe Jacob also says they have crisis response teams patrolling around the area in tactical gear.

“While there are no specific threats to the capitol or the capitol complex we are taking actions just out of the abundance of caution just to be prepared should any situation arise,” Jacob said.

They’re hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter says his team is also part of the efforts.

“Anybody that wants to protest is more than welcome to come into the city of Harrisburg to protest peacefully,” Carter said.

In the wake of violence in D.C., they’re bracing for any possibility.

“There’s no excuse for the disgraceful and dangerous behavior displayed by those who rioted in DC last week. Those actions should be condemed by all and never condoned and they will not be tolerated here at the capitol,” Jacob said.

Lt. Colonel Scott Price with the Pennsylvania State Police says they’re monitoring social media channels as part of their investigation.

“There’s a lot of generalized intelligence and we continue to scour various platforms incessently in an attempt to get a very robust operational picture,” Price said.

Police say protesters are using social media to organize a march on the U.S. Capitol for this Sunday. Those organizers are telling anyone who can’t make it to D.C. to rally at their state capitol instead.

“We’re certainly concerned about any sort of violence directed towards the capitol or any of our infrastructure. But the plans and the planning is really the key to allowing us to react quickly to a changing landscape,” Price said.

Whatever comes, Pennsylvania’s police are ready.

“We are well prepared to take on anything that may or may not come our way,” Carter said.

The enhanced patrolling has already started and it doesn’t have an exact end date. Capitol police say that all depends on when their investigation determines the threat is over.

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