Governor, police departments weigh-in on possible protests

Gov. Ricketts: "The American way is to peacefully protest." 

Capital cities across the country are preparing for the unknown. The FBI is warning that armed protests are planned at all 50 state capitols.

State officials plan to be ready.

“The plan is for the Capitol to be open to the public, but we will be taking additional precautions,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said.

Other states have taken measures for capitol security. The state of Washington has the National Guard and state troopers at their capitol building. In Michigan, the open carry of guns has been banned inside their state capitol.

Could we see something like an open carry gun ban in Lincoln?

“We are not considering that here in Nebraska, no,” Ricketts said. “It’s a second amendment right. It is enshrined in our Constitution. It’s something that our founders felt was really important.”

Local police departments have weighed in on the possibility of inauguration day protests.

Sheriff Terry Wagner tells Channel 8:

“We are coordinating with both Lincoln Police and State Patrol. We worked together to keep the Capitol courthouse safe. We’re monitoring all the intelligence that we can, about what’s going to be occurring. We’ll be prepared to deal with crowds, if they occur.”

Sheriff Wagner acknowledges that police departments are using lessons from past protests to plan for the days leading to the inauguration.

“We experienced the same sort of potential back in June, when we thought perhaps this building was going to be overrun by protesters,” Wagner said. “And so we learned some things from for the protests/riots back in June, from the Washington DC incident, and we’ll continually be modifying our response to counteract those issues.”

The Lincoln Police Department released the following statement:

“We’re monitoring all the information that’s coming in and working with all the agencies that are monitoring this as well. We will respond appropriately with the information that we received.”

In the days leading up to inauguration day, Gov. Ricketts is asking protesters to be peaceful.

“We have protests at the Capitol all the time,” Ricketts said. “We encourage people to protest. That’s part of our rights as an American. But the American way is to peacefully protest.”

Categories: Capitol News, Lancaster, Nebraska News, US & World