Law enforcement taking precautions ahead of Inauguration Day

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Leaked information from the FBI of possible armed protests at government buildings has led law enforcement throughout the country to take extra precautions.

Images of National Guard members sleeping at the U.S. Capitol paint a picture of precautions in Washington D.C. Thousands of guard members and law enforcement officers now protect the nation’s capital after last week’s deadly riot.

As we look ahead to president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, law enforcement across the country stays alert. Bennie Cobb, a retired captain with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, has worked in public safety for more 40 years.

“Law enforcement across the nation is evaluating itself. They’re evaluating from the inside out,” Cobb said.

He says every potential threat needs to be taken seriously, with federal, state and local agencies working together.

“There’re going to be preparedness like never before,” Cobb said.

Even though some social media sites are no longer operating, and some profiles have been removed from more mainstream sites, Cobb says law enforcement still monitors.

“There’s technology out there and I’m sure law enforcement is using all of the technology that’s available,” Cobb said.

In a statement Thursday, Memphis Police told us “To date, we have not received any direct threats pertaining to this area. We will continue to monitor the situation and remain vigilant.”

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office also told us they’re always preparing for potential threats, saying in part, “There have been numerous measures developed over the years that are in place for government agencies and corporations, including specific buildings, bridges, and other critical assets. However, due to the sensitive nature of those security measures, we cannot elaborate in further detail.”

“The next couple of weeks, the next couple of months is really going to make or break the law enforcement across the nation,” Cobb said.

And agencies say it is so critical to have the public’s help. If something seems out the ordinary or strange, make sure you report it.

Full statement from the Memphis Police Department:

We remain in contact with all of our Law Enforcement partners regarding potential threats and concerns related to the inauguration. To date, we have not received any direct threats pertaining to this area. We will continue to monitor the situation and remain vigilant.  We ask that if anyone knows anything about any potential threats to contact MPD immediately, and as always, if you see something, say something.

Full statement from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office:

Since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, law enforcement agencies began to study vulnerabilities and create improved safety measures and standards for protecting the public, vital assets, and critical infrastructure. Potential targets, both “hard and soft”, were discussed, evaluated and threat assessments were conducted with the help of government and private partners where “best practice” measures and countermeasures were developed to help thwart security breaches and how to respond to a threat.  

Training was developed by the law enforcement profession and provided to officers to help understand the importance of remaining vigilant and how to react to potential threats. There have been numerous measures developed over the years that are in place for government agencies and corporations, including specific buildings, bridges, and other critical assets. However, due to the sensitive nature of those security measures, we cannot elaborate in further detail. 

Some measures are as simple as “If you see something, say something” that we instruct to employers that can be discussed with their personnel who work in the target locations. Especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on 09/11/2001, federal, state, and local agencies continue to work closely on monitoring areas of concern for potential threats and the sharing of important information that will help deter, stop, and eliminate active threats. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) remains committed, as does our law enforcement partners, in taking all threats seriously and investigating them with the highest priority. The safety and security of our citizens and critical infrastructure will continue to be our priority. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation leads a nation-wide effort called the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The SCSO has a deputy assigned to our local FBI’s JTTF, where we closely monitor and coordinate any threat information within our county with local law enforcement and with any affected civilian or government organizations responsible for critical resources. 

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