‘A statement of the resilience of our democracy:’ Security remains tight on eve of inauguration
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Senator Tammy Baldwin will be among the few attending the inauguration of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States and said she feels confident in the security measures in place.
“I believe that the planning for the inauguration and the security measures that have been taken will mean that it will be a safe event,” Sen. Baldwin told CBS 58 in an interview.
The Democratic senator from Wisconsin said after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the importance of the inauguration is only amplified.
“Inaugurations are touchstone events and this one in particular is going to be viewed as a statement of the resilience of our democracy,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin told CBS 58 she has been briefed on security plans for the inauguration and feels safe attending.
Twenty-five thousand National Guard members are in Washington D.C . to secure the inauguration. Barbed wire fences, concrete barriers and other security measures surround the U.S. Capitol.
Multiple National Guard members were removed from the roster of those set to be on duty for the inauguration security mission.
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin National Guard told CBS 58 no members from Wisconsin were removed from duty.
In Madison, security measures remain in place but no additional threats have been detected beyond the general online threat against state Capitols for Jan. 17 and Jan. 20.
“We haven’t become aware of anything new since then, so there’s nothing specific,” Madison Police Acting Chief Vic Wahl told CBS 58. “But we will certainly have some extra precautions in place just out of an abundance of caution.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said anyone near the state Capitol should expect a large law enforcement presence.
“I’ve been encouraging people to avoid the state Capitol area through Inauguration Day," Kaul said. "I think there’s going to be an ongoing assessment of safety issues.”
Kaul said he does not see a need for people to avoid courthouses across the state, which the FBI has warned could be other possible venues for violence. He has not seen any specific threats to those sites.
“We’re going to keep communications going, and if we becoming aware of any potential issues, there could be resources deployed as appropriate," Kaul said. "But it’s going to depend on what information law enforcement receives.”
Chief Wahl said law enforcement are prepared to observe people’s right to protest or free speech but they will not tolerate unlawful acts of violence.
“We’re not going to tolerate things that go beyond that, so things like violence and property damage and that type of thing won’t be allowed and we’ll have the resources available to respond to things like that if need be, but hopefully we’ll see another quiet day like we saw over the weekend.”
Kaul is advising people look to official sources like law enforcement and local politicians to monitor the situation on Inauguration Day.
He said he expects for the increased presence at the Capitol to recede on Jan 21.