Capitol police in Topeka discuss response to possible armed protests

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 9:32 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The pandemic has left the Kansas Capitol in Topeka much quieter than usual as limitations are in place, only permitting visitors inside for official legislative business. But a memo from the FBI concerning potential threats of violence at state capitols across the U.S. has officials in Topeka closely monitoring another threat. Capitol Police say they were aware of possible armed protests before the FBI put out the warning.

“Any kind of intelligence briefings, whether it’s the FBI or local intelligence, officers briefing us, we take it pretty serious,” said Kansas Capitol Police Public Information Officer Lt. Terry Golightley.

The Capitol Police currently is discussing and analyzing what type of response is needed for the protests currently being planned. Lt. Golightley said part of that includes staffing and working with neighboring agencies.

“(We) consistently run numbers and find out how large the protests are going to be, what the agenda on the protest is, and if the propensity is more for violence or if it’s considered more of a peaceful protest. We always take that into consideration,” Lt. Golightley said.

Protesters can also get permits to be at the capitol in Topeka, which Lt. Golightley said can help with preparation.

‘Really, it’s designed so that we don’t have two opposing groups protesting in the same area at the same time so that we can better control that,” he said.

The FBI said the timeframe for when state capitols face a threat of possible violence is between Jan. 16 and the inauguration day, Jan. 20.

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