Police vow safety on Election Day
Several police agencies said voters can rest assured that any Election Day chaos or post-election violence will be quelled.
“We are ready,” said Williamsport Bureau of Police Chief Damon Hagan adding the department has not received any intelligence regarding any planned demonstrations that could become disruptive or unsafe to be around.
However, he said he would put the normal amount of officers in place today and if there are any outbreaks of violence they will be met with a strong police presence.
Hagan said the police here have at their disposal a coordinated ability to use mutual aid and likewise, to help out any other community where there may be an outbreak of violence or chaos caused by election results.
Williamsport’s residents can be assured the police are better prepared after the July neo-Nazi rally that took place in Brandon Park, Hagan said.
The department also has several off-duty officers who can be contacted if the need arises, he said.
“We will respond if there is a phone call to 911,” said Jeff Gyurina, Montoursville Borough police chief.
“Any threat of physicial harm or injury, Gyurina said, adding, “will be met with a police response.”
At the 81 polling stations, police are not permitted, by law, to be within 100 feet of the building, unless there is a specific emergency, Hagan said.
Gyurina said his department is located in the borough building, which is the polling station, but police will not have a presence and use the rear door during the day and evening, he said.
Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general, issued police agencies the laws and rules through the Pennsylvania District Attorneys, Hagan said.
Voters may see the presence of a constable at some of the polling areas, according to Gyurina but police won’t be there unless they are contacted to be, he said.
Any hint of making voters feel uncomfortable or suppressing or obstructing them from having a pleasant experience at the polls is not what police want, Hagan said.
Neither do those at the state level.
“Interference in voting is illegal,” said Kathy Boockvar, secretary of state in Harrisburg. “Ensuring that our citizens have a secure election is a priority of ours on every front,” she said.
State police are ready to assist municipal police if there are outbreaks of violence in areas, according to state Police Col. Robert Evanchick said.
Plans are in place by the state Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard are ready and already walking in the streets of some cities to respond to violence today or in the post-election days ahead, or any situation, said Randy Padfield, agency director.
“Having a clear understanding of conditions or incidents that could affect the ability of our fellow citizens to freely participate in an election is vital to quickly responding and mitigating the problem,” Padfield said.