Texas DPS sends more resources to State Capitol as FBI warns of potential armed protests

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Public Safety has increased patrols around the Texas State Capitol ahead of Inauguration Day.

On Monday, NBC News learned the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a memo warning states of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitol buildings starting Jan. 16.

The memo also stated a group is threatening an uprising if Congress moves to remove President Donald Trump from office.

In a statement, Texas DPS told KXAN it’s “continuously monitoring” events in Austin and their impacts on public safety.

“As a result, the department has deployed additional personnel and resources to the Texas State Capitol. While we do not discuss operational specifics, DPS will continue to adjust our operations as needed to maintain public order and address potential threats,” the statement reads.

Stratfor Risk Assistance + Network Exchange Executive Director Brian Lynch, who spent more than 20 years in the FBI, called the bureau’s memo warning all 50 states of a potential threat remarkable.

“State and local law enforcement officials were on high alert anyway, based upon what happened last Wednesday, but this certainly tees it up for them even more,” Lynch said.

He says an increased law enforcement presence can sometimes act as a deterrent to those who could pose a threat to safety. He also says the detective work local law enforcement agencies do ahead of time on groups that could pose a threat is just as important as the extra security detail being put in place.

“Really, it comes down to the intent and capability of the people that show up. What are they trying to accomplish? And that’s where really good police work and good sources will help our organizations charged with protecting these buildings and people,” he said.

Lynch added, “I think that the key is having the right resources, the right structure, the right security to ensure that should people show up with arms, that the information and the intelligence that we receive beforehand is properly influenced into a plan,  and that plan can address any of these types of people that might show up.”

The Austin Police Department said it is working with Texas DPS to make sure any demonstrations remain peaceful.

“We do have reports of planned assemblies, and we are working with our law enforcement partners at DPS to ensure people are able to peacefully assemble and voice opinions, and we are able to keep people safe during that process,” the department said in a statement.

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