Governor activating National Guard to boost security in downtown Springfield this weekend
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that he has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard for State Active Duty in response to the warnings issued this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Earlier this week, the FBI warned of possible armed protests at state capitols across the country in the run-up to the inauguration.
The Illinois State Police (ISP), Secretary of State Police and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are also working to prepare for possible protests.
“Following the violent siege at our nation’s capitol and reports from federal law enforcement on threats to state capitals, I am bringing all resources to bear to protect our residents and our democratic process,” said Pritzker. “Our exemplary members of the Illinois National Guard will be working closely with our State Police as well as local and federal authorities to keep our capital city safe. We will continue to be fully transparent with the public on any new information and the steps we are taking to respond.”
“As with recent previous deployments, the Illinois State Police will work side by side with the Illinois National Guard and our local partners to execute our mission of protecting the democratic process,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.
The governor’s office said that the National Guard will not interfere with peaceful protestors exercising first amendment rights. The role of the soldiers is to aide local authorities in enforcing street closures and designated perimeters.