No credible threats in Wisconsin but officials brace for potential violence ahead of Inauguration Day
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Local, state and federal officials are working together to detect, prevent and address any potential violence that may occur ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The FBI alerted local officials of potential planned violence in all 50 states.
Milwaukee County leaders said there are no known threats in the area but are ready in any event.
“We’re just following the intel,” County Executive David Crowley told CBS 58. “Right now it’s just about being prepared for anything that may occur, and so we’re just in constant communications to make sure that we don’t have a situation like we had in our own nation’s capital we want to make sure all of our city and county assets are protected and doing everything we can to do that.”
The Milwaukee Police Department sent the following statement to CBS 58:
“The Milwaukee Police Department is unaware of any credible threats to the City of Milwaukee at this time but is preparing in the event of any potential threats. For security reasons, MPD cannot discuss any operational plans.”
In Madison, the state Capitol is boarded up as a precautionary measure, but city leaders want residents to be on alert.
“Use your common sense,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a briefing. “If you see something, say something.”
Police in Madison said there is no specific threat but are working with state and federal partners to stay updated.
“We are also depending and relying on our outside partners, both the state capitol police, the sheriff’s office, university police, state patrol as well as other partners that we have worked with regularly in the past to enhance our capacity to respond with any issues that we might see,” Madison Police Chief Victor Wahl said. “We are in regular contact with them and certainly any changes that we hear from them will cause us to adjust our response accordingly.”
The Wisconsin National Guard will also act in a support role in Madison as well as in Washington D.C.
“Those troops will be taking off in the coming days to head to our nation’s capital, to integrate with thousands of other national guard troops from all across the nation and integrate into the overall security plan for the inauguration,” Cpt. Joe Trovato told CBS 58 in an interview.
Meanwhile, experts believe the recent crackdown of far-right extremist groups by social media sites may make it more difficult for law enforcement to track potential planning of violence.
“Since these certain groups are being taken off surface web sites and shut down, they’re moving to the dark web and this is more complicated for law enforcement,” UW-Milwaukee Associate Professor Nadine Kozak said in an interview.
The FBI Milwaukee office sent CBS 58 the following statement:
“FBI Milwaukee stands ready to assist our state/local partners addressing whatever threats may occur throughout WI. We have agents and intelligence analysts, including those assigned to crisis management, tactical, evidence recovery and bomb technician teams supporting investigations and threat mitigation efforts. We remain focused on ensuring the safety of our communities.”