RI law enforcement agencies on ‘high alert’ for potential violence before, during inauguration


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While no credible threats of armed protests on Inauguration Day have been reported locally, the state’s two largest law enforcement agencies are prepared to respond to any acts of violence that may arise.

Earlier this week, the FBI warned of potentially violent demonstrations being planned at all 50 state capitols. The news, which comes one week after a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, has law enforcement agencies across the county ramping up patrols.

The FBI recently reported that there’s been extensive chatter online regarding potential threats nationwide, but both R.I. State Police Col. James Manni and Providence Police Col. Hugh Clements reassured Rhode Islanders Thursday that no credible threats have been made.

Manni said as a precaution, troopers are stationed around the clock outside the State House as a security detail until after the inauguration.

Officers are also ramping up patrols around the homes of prominent lawmakers, including Rep. David Cicilline, who led the charge to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time.

“The Rhode Island State Police is prepared to address any risks to public safety and meet any security challenges that could develop,” Manni said.

In a statement issued Friday, the Providence Police Department said it will remain “on high alert” and are “fully prepared to address any acts of violence.”

“The safety and security of the residents, workers and visitors in the city of Providence will remain paramount,” the statement reads. “There is no need to cancel or adjust any scheduled activities or events in the city for the weekend or leading up to and on Inauguration Day. Please be assured, that as we continue to evaluate the potential for any local threats in the upcoming week, we will keep the public advised with relevant information.”

The R.I. National Guard is also prepared to deploy troops to the State House if need be.

Joseph Bonavolonta, the head of the Boston office of the FBI, urged members of the public to pass along any tips to local FBI field offices or by visiting tips.fbi.gov, adding that no tip is too small to report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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