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By Jorge Casuso

October 26, 2020 -- The Santa Monica Police Department has been preparing for potential civil unrest leading up to next Tuesday's presidential election and its aftermath, officials announced Monday.

The Department has put in place an "activation plan" in coordination with the City's Office of Emergency Management and will boost police presence across the city of some 93,000 starting Friday, SMPD officials said.

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"Our visibility should not cause alarm and is dedicated to swiftly intercede with any type of criminal activity," the Department said in a statement.

"Currently, we have no intelligence to indicate Santa Monica will be a place of unrest," police said. "However, we also know that things can change rapidly and are actively monitoring the situation."

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Police officials said the Department has received calls from Santa Monica businesses asking about boarding up their storefronts.

"As a Police Department, we cannot tell business what to do when it comes to boarding up," the statement said.

"However, we understand the need to feel secure and we respect your decisions on how to handle your day to day operations."

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The Department supports businesses that choose to board up, police said.

"If things change, we will be working with our city partners and media outlets to get the word out as quickly as possible," the statement said.

During the May 31 riots, a total of 220 businesses were damaged, with 76 of them looted, most of them in the Downtown.

SMPD has been working with local and regional law enforcement agencies over the past few weeks "in preparation for any unrest surrounding the election."

"The police department will be working closely with our city partners throughout the next few weeks to ensure we provide the highest level of public safety," officials said.

Local police also will support the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which will be working with the LA County Registrar’s Office "to handle security issues at ballot boxes and polling locations."

"It is our job to support the process and ensure everyone participates without consternation about our voting system," officials said in the statement.

Anyone with information that could be useful to police should email police.intelligence@smgov.net. The Department is "actively monitoring and carefully vetting all information we receive," officials said.


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