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S.D. Capitol law enforcement tight-lipped about inauguration week security

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 7:11 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The FBI is warning states about possible armed protests being planned at all 50 state Capitols next week, according to a bulletin obtained by multiple news outlets.

This news coming in the wake of protestors rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week.

With the potential of armed protests in South Dakota, law enforcement across the state is remaining quiet about their plans to protect government buildings.

As state legislation kicks off in Pierre, local law enforcement has a larger security presence around the Capitol. However, the Department of Public Safety won’t say whether that police presence will stick around into next week when the FBI is warning about armed protests.

Both the Pierre Police Department and Hughes County Sheriff’s Office say they work closely with Capitol security. The Hughes County Sheriff says they are aware of the possible threat, adding they are making plans on ramping up security presence in county buildings and are continuing to monitor the situation.

In the meantime, some state legislators say they feel safe inside the Capitol walls.

“The security we have here at the South Dakota Capitol is really good, I’ve never personally felt threatened and honestly, I expect to have peaceful protestors,” said South Dakota State Representative Drew Dennert.

“We have an incredible police force here in the Capitol. The South Dakota Highway Patrol is charged with our safety and I have the utmost respect for that organization,” South Dakota State Representative Jamie Smith added.

In Sioux Falls Police say nobody has filled out any permits for a protest at this time.

“As far as staffing, we’ve never really had any problems in the past. It’s one of those things that’s maybe, fluid is probably a good word to say. If we hear of something or anticipate any problems then certainly, they’d be able to adjust staffing but right now, I don’t think there’s anything extra planned,” said SFPD Officer Sam Clemens.

On the national level, experts say law enforcement is using the internet to help them identify potential threats.

“They’re going through and following up in some of these chat-rooms and some of these places where extremists tend to coalesce,” Law Enforcement Analyst James Gagliano said.

The Department of Public Safety would not release specifics on any known information regarding next week at the Capitol or other government buildings.

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