Williamsport Mayor: Police ready for ‘issues that may arise’ through Inauguration Day

City police and other law enforcement agencies say they are prepared to respond to any protests or demonstration to quell any violence during the presidential inauguration on Wednesday.

Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, various police spokespersons said they are prepared for any eventualities, including demonstrations for or against the president-elect and his administration.

“As with any large event, the Williamsport Bureau of Police always involves itself with neighboring law enforcement agencies,” city Police Chief Damon R. Hagan said.

“Our public safety personnel led by Chief Hagan is prepared to address issues that may arise … I have full confidence in our department to effectively handle any incidents within the city,” Mayor Derek Slaughter said.

A joint effort to share intelligence and information with regard to any potential threats has not produced any intelligence on any threats locally, Hagan said.

Asked for more specifics, Hagan said, “I can’t comment on what we heard or any reports but we will be ready for any scenarios.”

Hagan said there is a potential for those with differing opinions to rally outside.

Sites could be around City Hall or the U.S. Middle District Court, the latter which was host for a lawsuit of national attention after the election when President Donald J. Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani tried to get election results in Pennsylvania thrown out.

As the inauguration takes place, if there are many gathering for or against, police will be on duty and ready to respond.

“People who want to demonstrate will be given a safe place for peaceful protests,” Hagan said.

But authorities are aware of what happened at the U.S. Capitol and how the Department of Homeland Security has an alert for all state capitol buildings, he said.

“Unfortunately, we have become better and more prepared for such protests and public rallies,” Hagan said.

State police, ahead of the inauguration, sent a message it hoped would resonate with those living through a historic day.

“The various Lycoming County law enforcement entities consistently work together to create a safe place for residents to live,” said Trooper Angela Bieber, community services officer, with Troop F in Montoursville.

“If you happen to find yourself in a situation that becomes hostile in nature, it is best to walk away from the situation rather than to further engage with the person,” Bieber said.

Hagan, too, said the gatherings are mostly peaceful, but there can be times when those with differing viewpoints interact vocally and that is not want police want to see happen on Wednesday.


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