State, federal law enforcement plan increased Capitol activity through Mid-February

    Michigan State Police | Susan J. Demas

    In light of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, local, state and federal law enforcement officials announced Friday there will be significant increases in the number of police officers around the state Capitol building for the next week. 

    As the Advance first reported Friday morning, Gov Gretchen Whitmer has also activated some Michigan National Guard troops.

    Maj. Gen Paul Rogers, commander of the Michigan National Guard and Air, said elements of both air and army forces have been activated. He declined to disclose how many troops had been activated or from what units. 

    Rogers said the activation was “significant and in direct relation to our partners” in local and state law enforcement. 

    Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Col. Joe Gasper said troopers from across Michigan have been redeployed to Lansing in preparation for potential rightwing protests Sunday through Wednesday. The increased MSP presence will continue through “at least mid-February.”

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    “Security enhancements that have been put in place include both seen and unseen measures,” said Gasper “I can assure you that we take our responsibility for safeguarding the Capitol and those who work and visit here seriously and, together with our law enforcement partners, we will be prepared to ensure law and order.”

    Law enforcement officials declined to identify how many officers will be on duty in the coming days, citing operational safety and the need to have an “element of surprise” for people who may attend with “nefarious” plans. 

    He also indicated he has been meeting with leadership in both the Michigan House and Senate. Both chambers have scheduled meetings slated Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week, but Gasper said he is “confident” a “modification in session plans” next week would occur. 

    Planning to counter the protests has been ongoing for “seven to 10 days” Gasper said in a press conference this morning. Calls for nationwide protests began appearing online in mid-November as President Trump and his supporters cranked up allegations of voter fraud, all of which have been debunked in court. 

    Law enforcement declined to identify any groups identified who may be planning actions at the Capitol. Michigan Advance has reported the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia has withdrawn support and participation in Sunday’s events citing security concerns related to groups such as the Proud Boys participating. 

    Gasper indicated it is difficult to ascertain how many people may show up in Lansing to protest, and that the operational plan created by law enforcement is designed for that. 

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    Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green said the plan being implemented by the law enforcement partnership was “unprecedented.” 

    In addition to bringing MSP troopers from around the state, law enforcement officers from the Ingham County Sheriff’s office and the Lansing Police Department will be on duty Sunday, when an armed protest is expected at the state Capitol. 

    Rogers said elements of both air and army forces have been activated. He declined to disclose how many troops had been activitate or from what units.Rogers said the activation was “significant and in direct relation to our partners” in local and state law enforcement. 

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also will be working with state and local law enforcement in real time intelligence gathering and sharing. Gasper said MSP is prepared to move troopers to other parts of the state in the event of activities requiring intervention. 

    On Friday, the the U.S. Postal Service announced the downtown branch of the post office will be closed on Sat. Jan. 16, and the closure may continue into the week, depending on ongoing security assessments. 

    “In general, we don’t discuss security measures so as not to provide an advantage to those wishing to inflict harm and cause disruption, but it’s important for the public to know that law enforcement is working together and has a coordinated plan to do everything within our power to ensure safety,” Gasper said. “We remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate do so peacefully, without violence or destruction of property.”

    Todd A. Heywood
    Todd Heywood is an award-winning journalist with over 30 years of experience. He's worked in print, online, radio and television. His reporting has been cited by the U.S. House of Representatives as well as in the United Nations reports on HIV. He's an avid vintage Star Wars collector and lives in Lansing with his three dogs.