Forty troopers — once scheduled to help with security at the presidential inauguration — will stay home to deal with possible local unrest.
About 40 Utah Highway Patrol troopers are staying in the state instead of traveling to Washington D.C. to provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, as law enforcement prepares for anticipated protesters at the Capitol in Salt Lake City.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Nick Street wouldn’t say exactly how troopers planned to respond to demonstrations planned in support of President Donald Trump because of security concerns, but said, “We are planning extra security for this coming weekend.”
Street said traditionally, Utah and other states send a number of troopers to presidential inaugurations.
“With the scenario that could present itself at our own Capitol over the next few days or next week,” Street said, administrators are concerned about letting “40 well-trained state troopers go to D.C. when we’re kind of facing our own threat here.”
The Associated Press reported increased law enforcement presence and other security measures at state capitols across the nation, after last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Asked about its knowledge of protests planned in Utah, the FBI said in a statement: “While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI is supporting our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners with maintaining public safety in the communities we serve. Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity.”
In its statement, the FBI said, “Our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah said it is investigating an undisclosed number of Utahns who were allegedly involved in the riot last week at the U.S. Capitol, said spokesperson Andrew Choate.
“I wanted to see history go down,” Sullivan said.
Reporter Sara Tabin contributed to this report.