DPS, law enforcement partners prepare for possible activity at MN Capitol

Published 6:50 am Saturday, January 16, 2021

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ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the State Patrol are preparing for possible protest activity around the State Capitol over the next several days, ahead of the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.

While the Capitol remains a safe place, officials are asking Minnesotans who do not have any planned activity or business at the Capitol to consider visiting at another time.

Visitors will notice some, but not all, security measures that are intended to keep people safe and protect property on the Capitol Complex. For example:

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• State Patrol troopers, Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and National Guard soldiers will be visible and available to respond to various threats; and

• Traffic restrictions will be in place around the Capitol. Foot traffic will be allowed; however, only state agency employees, contractors, deliveries and those with official state business will be able to drive in the restricted area around the Capitol.

“We will continue to track and monitor reports of any individuals or groups that are not interested in a peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights so we can respond accordingly,” said DPS Comm. John Harrington. “We have been working with our law enforcement partners to develop a coordinated and comprehensive plan to guard the Capitol and protect state employees, visitors and peaceful protestors from harm. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re asking those who don’t have planned activity or business at the Capitol to consider visiting at another time.”

Harrington emphasized that the State Capitol has been and continues to be a safe place to conduct the important work of our state. The law enforcement preparations are intended to maintain and preserve that safe environment.

Tactics and response to any incident or threats will be adjusted as needed. In addition, a fence installed last summer remains in place around the Capitol. DPS and its State Patrol and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have been working in partnership with St. Paul Police, Ramsey County Sheriff, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and the Minnesota National Guard.

DPS is asking anyone who sees suspicious activity in the area to call 911. It’s easy to overlook routine moments, but when something doesn’t seem quite right, it’s important to say something. Being alert and reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement is a way to help protect the community.