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Police, Utah National Guard prepare for possible unrest

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 00:16:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah National Guard is on standby and reserve Utah Highway Patrol troopers are ready for potential civil unrest and violence leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden next week.

The FBI’s Salt Lake City field office says they haven’t received any specific or substantiated threats.

Yet, wooden boards continued going up on windows across the city on government, commercial and residential buildings Friday in anticipation of vandalism and violence in the coming days.

The downtown Post Office will close early Saturday.

Four mailboxes were temporarily removed near the city’s core. Highway patrol troopers will surround the Capitol. Governor Spencer Cox warns it wouldn’t take much to activate the guard.

READ: Cox declares State of Emergency ahead of possible weekend protests

“We are prepared for whatever may come our way,” Governor Cox said during a press conference Thursday.

Despite a warning of possibly armed demonstrations in all 50 states following an attack on the US Capitol, the FBI admits they aren’t aware of any credible threats in Utah.

"There are no specific threats. There is nothing that has come in that says something is being targeted,” Salt Lake City Police Detective Michael Ruff said.

READ: 350 Utah National Guard troops deployed to D.C. for inauguration

Det. Ruff said they’re getting ready just in case there is trouble.

“We’d rather be prepared for the worst and have nothing happen than not be prepared. That’s kind of the way we are looking at things right now,” Det. Ruff said.

Former Salt Lake City police chief Chris Burbank said city and state leaders are wise to be planning ahead instead of reacting in real time, even when there isn’t a current threat.

“It would be very foolish of any police agency, especially a capital city that has the state capitol located in it, to take this lightly,” said Burbank.

Salt Lake City said it’s unclear how much the preparations will cost taxpayers until the end of next week.

READ: Salt Lake City government building boarded up as precaution for violence