The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to protect federal buildings in Washington, DC, from attacks during anticipates riots in the city in the days and weeks following the election.
According to the Washington Examiner, a DHS spokesperson said on Monday, “We are concerned about attacks on federal facilities,” adding, “Tomorrow, that is our No. 1 mandate where you would see a DHS response.”
Although the spokesman said he was unaware of any explicit threats against federal buildings, the agency remains concerned about attacks. The spokesman said any of the buildings could become the target of violent demonstrators who seek to mimic the ambush on the Portland federal courthouse that occurred earlier this year.
The DHS is responsible for protecting 190 federally owned buildings in the Washington, DC, area alone, including over 50 that house federal agencies.
Law enforcement will be out in full force in the capital city this week, including departments created to protect specific locations. Working alongside the DHS, the U.S. Capitol Police will work to protect the Capitol, the National Park Service will stand guard at federal monuments and memorials and the Secret Service will protect the White House and Treasury Department.
The Federal Protective Service, an agency within the DHS, will protect federal buildings using both its own and privately contracted officers. The Federal Protective Service will be called first if help is needed at federal facilities.
“Working alongside our federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, the Department of Homeland Security is fully prepared regarding election night safety and security,” Chase Jennings, a second DHS spokesman, said in a statement.
The DHS and other law enforcement agencies aren’t the only ones preparing for potential civil unrest following the election. Businesses throughout the capital city have been boarding up their windows with plywood in an effort to protect their properties from violent demonstrators. Retailers are stepping up their security in other ways, too, including hiring private guards.
The Washington Post reported Anthony Adams, a 56-year-old private security worker, said the District was a “political powder keg,” and that he was bracing for turmoil.
Adams said, “I’ve always had the motto, ‘Prepare for the worst, hope for the best,’ and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”