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Several San Diego law enforcement agencies preparing for possible election unrest

San Diego police
Posted at 3:30 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 14:57:41-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – With just hours until Election Day, several local law enforcement agencies are already on high-alert in the event that large demonstrations arise.

"We are comfortable with the staffing level we have for [Tuesday] and into the weekend,” SDPD Lieutenant Shawn Takeuchi told ABC10 News on Monday and added, “We're monitoring social media and any information available to the public about any groups that are planning to protest or celebrate.” He said San Diego Police Department is well prepared for any potential unrest although officers have no credible knowledge of plans for it.

On Tuesday, SDPD will open its Department Operations Center (DOC) which is only activated during major events as a hub to filter and disseminate intelligence. “We are not fully staffing the DOC. We are putting it on a monitoring status [and] we feel that's prudent given the climate that we're in,” he added.

“I think anxieties are very high all over the country,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told ABC10 News on Monday. He said that his Department will be adequately staffed. “We fully respect everyone's right to peacefully demonstrate [and] to express their first amendment rights. However, when those peaceful demonstrations cross that line into criminal activity, deputy sheriffs and local law enforcement will be ready to act to keep everybody in the crowd safe so that they can express their legitimate first amendment rights,” he added.

On Monday, California Highway Patrol told ABC10 News that its officers are being moved to 12 hour shifts. A statement reads, “The protection of state of California properties, including state buildings and state highways, is the primary responsibility and jurisdiction of the CHP. As a statewide law enforcement agency, the CHP has officers available to respond to any incident or a request for assistance by an allied agency through the mutual aid process anywhere in California. We will continue to monitor the situation and plan our resources accordingly.”

Carlsbad Police Department states, “As with any significant event in Carlsbad, we have created an operational plan to ensure safety for those who choose to visit a polling site. If a community member sees a problem at a polling site, they are encouraged to give us a call – dial 911 for an emergency and 760-931-2197 for other activity. We are ready to respond should there be a problem that needs our assistance. As for the days leading up to election day, if a community member receives threats or intimidation intended to affect their vote, they are encouraged to give us a call. Threats of this nature will be investigated and be shared with the FBI who has been working on such issues nationwide.”

The La Mesa Police Department states, “The La Mesa Police Department would like to assure the public that we are committed to the goal of facilitating a safe, peaceful and legal Election Day tomorrow. Our officers have been trained on the various laws pertaining to voting and polling places, and additional resources have been designated to respond to and handle any issues that may arise.”

The El Cajon Police Department writes, “In response to your question, we would prefer not to release any particular plans or tactics related to the election. I can say that we are leveraging our resources and staffing to be prepared to respond to any activity that jeopardizes the safety of our community, as well as provide safety for the peaceful demonstrations that may or may not result from the elections.”

The Coronado Police Department reports, “We have increased staffing and we are in communication with our law enforcement partners across the region.”

Over the phone, Chula Vista Police said they’re monitoring intelligence and communicating with local partners. Oceanside Police Department told ABC10News that it has additional officers on standby.

The FBI sent the following statement.

“Although Election Day is November 3rd, the FBI’s work in securing the election begins, and continues, well beyond that date. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the FBI is particularly engaged in extensive preparations. As always, we are working closely with our federal, state, and local partners so everyone involved with safe-guarding the election has the information and resources necessary to respond in a timely manner to any violations that may arise. Of course our preparations for 2020 take into account the current climate of the country. The FBI has a responsibility to plan for a host of potential scenarios. We are committed to protecting the American public’s right to a fair and safe election by securing it.”

“The FBI works closely with our federal, state, and local partners to identify and stop any potential threats to public safety. We gather and analyze intelligence to determine whether individuals might be motivated to take violent action for any reason, including due to concerns about the election. It is vital that the FBI, our law enforcement partners, and the public work together to protect our communities as Americans exercise their right to vote. We encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

“In keeping with our standard election day protocol, FBI Headquarters will stand up a National Election Command Post to provide a centralized location for assessing election-related threats. The command post will track status reports and significant complaints from FBI field offices; monitor for indicators of a coordinated nationwide effort to disrupt the election process; and provide guidance to FBI field offices. In addition, the command post will coordinate FBI response to any election-related incident.”

"Locally, the FBI San Diego has stood up an election command post to coordinate with our local and state partners, as well as with the FBI Headquarters National Election Command Post. This enables our field office to streamline communication and response and ensure the safety and security of the elections and public."

"The San Diego FBI is committed to ensuring the safety and security of the Election 2020."