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Police Boost Patrols As Inauguration Approaches
By Jorge Casuso
January 15, 2021 -- Santa Monica police will step up patrols this weekend in anticipation of possible protests around the inauguration of President elect Joe Biden on Wednesday, Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks announced Thursday night.
In a video address to the community, Seabrooks said the Department will "implement a comprehensive response plan" on Saturday and Sunday, contiunue monitoring intelligence and work with other law enforcement agencies.
The plan will be "supported by a full compliment of uniformed police personnel who will be out and about in our community," Seabrooks said. "Our personnel will be highly visible and prepared to respond to any incident."
Police will also continue to monitor intelligence sources to "accurately assess our situation based on the evolving nature of the information we receive."
Many of the "currently targeted activities," Seabrooks said, focus on federal buildiings, state capitals and other government facilities.
There has so far been no indication of "specific threats or other activities focusing on our community," Seabrooks said.
But she said police are aware the community is concerned about "reports of possible armed protests" nationwide as inauguration week approaches.
"Because we understand the severity of the situation and your concerns, I want you to know that we are steadfastly committed to safeguarding our community," Seabrooks said.
"We are currently taking the steps necessary to insure we are well prepared because your safety and the protection of our community are important to us."
The preparations also include having "clear lines of communication" with federal, state and regional law enforcement.
Seabrooks said police will "absolutely recognize and value the rights of all members of the community to peacefully exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly."
Seabrooks' address comes seven and a half months after Santa Monica police were overwhelmed on May 31 by demonstrators who descended on the city to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
During the riots that broke out, nearly 80 stores were hit by organized bands of looters who went unchecked, while protesters were met with force by police ("EXTRA! -- Santa Monica Demonstration Turns Violent, Looters Ransack Stores," June 1, 2020).
A potential looting spree on September 1 was thwarted by Santa Monica Police thanks to a community tip ("Santa Monica Police Thwarted Looters Tuesday Night, Captain Says," September 4, 2020).
Chief Seabrooks is asking "that if you see something, say so." The information can be shared online or by calling the Police Department at 310.395.9931.
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