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The Nevada Independent

Legislative staff says threats of unrest at state capitals being taken ‘very seriously,’ preparations underway

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
State Government

The director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau says her agency has been paying close attention to the unrest happening nationally and has been preparing in case more demonstrations take place in downtown Carson City in the days ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Brenda Erdoes’ comments come after the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement warning of armed protests being planned in all 50 state capitals and threats of an uprising if President Donald Trump is removed from office. The agency also warned of groups threatening to storm state government offices on Inauguration Day.

“This is something that we're taking very seriously. And we believe that we will appropriately react as things occur,” Erdoes said in an interview on Wednesday. “A lot of planning has gone into this, a lot of training, and the amount of training that has gone into this ... I think we're in a good place.”

She said there’s been preparation since the spring and detailed plans on how to keep people safe, although she declined to elaborate on the specific tactics because of the sensitive nature of the information.

Thousands of National Guard members, including more than 200 from Nevada, are being deployed to Washington D.C. with the goal of deterring violence in the wake of a siege on the U.S. Capitol last week. Troops in fatigues were seen filling the building on Wednesday.

Officials with the Nevada National Guard said that as of Wednesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak has not deployed them to provide extra support in Nevada in the lead-up to inauguration. Sisolak’s office didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on any special plans there might be to address potential unrest.

The Legislature has not yet convened for its regular session, which brings much more activity to the Capitol complex than there is in the off-season. 

As the House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump based on allegations that he incited insurrection last week, the president issued a statement urging calm.

"In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You," Trump’s statement said.

Carson City has been a hub for a variety of protests since the spring, from demonstrations against Sisolak’s shutdown orders to Black Lives Matter rallies and more recently, events featuring Trump supporters who have not accepted the results of the presidential election.

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong told the Nevada Appeal that multiple law enforcement agencies have been meeting at least once a week to prepare for civil unrest. But he told the publication the statehouse and legislative building are impossible to secure because of their many windows, and said the type of weapons that demonstrators are bringing to the events “is the big issue.”

“It only takes one thing to go wrong and you will have a disaster,” he told the newspaper.

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