‘Every City is Preparing for It’: What Police are Doing to Prepare for Possible Election Unrest
- Police departments are likely to collect intelligence on social media, cancel days off and prepare tactical response teams ahead of possible Election Day unrest.
- A New York-based police union official likened the city’s level of preparedness to the days following 9/11 and said “This is not something to take lightly right now.”
- Two union officials told the Daily Caller News Foundation that officers should apprehend instigators quickly in the event that riots break out as the election nears.
Police departments are set to cancel days off, prepare tactical response teams and gather intelligence about possible election unrest as Nov. 3 quickly approaches, according to two police union officials.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Oct. 24 told businesses within the boroughs to prepare for possible political violence, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 24. The department has reportedly been preparing for weeks to keep the city secure in the event of election-induced calamity.
Miami, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Orlando, Chicago and other major cities have also reported prepping for possible violence, according to Fox News.
The vice president of the New York-based Sergeants Benevolent Association, Vincent Vallelong, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he hadn’t seen such disaster preparation in his city since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Stuff like this was done during 9/11 when everybody went to 12-hour tours, but they basically put the whole job on alert right now,” Vallelong said during a phone interview.
“I’d be lying to you if I said I wouldn’t be worried,” he continued. “We’ve already seen cops get assaulted in New York the last time this broke out. This is something not to take lightly right now.”
And the vice president emeritus of the International Union of Police Associations, Dennis Slocumb, said: “Every city is preparing for it, it’s not just New York and Minneapolis. I would think that any police chief in any metropolitan area has probably been preparing for this for a while.”
Going on Tactical Alert
“What they’re probably doing is cancelling days off and going on their form of tactical alert,” Slocumb, a veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, added. “They’re probably preparing response teams, and they’re going to get those rosters all squared away and make sure they’ve got the equipment they’re going to need.”
“I’m sure every agency is monitoring social media and they probably have undercover officers involved in both social media and some of these groups,” he said.
Slocumb also indicated that law enforcement agencies can establish arrangements with surrounding departments, known as mutual aid, to establish contingency plans if more officers are needed to supplement a certain city’s police force. Those same authorities are likely to begin talks with local trauma centers and their respective fire departments, he said.
Vallelong, who works closely with the NYPD, said police “should have the horses out, they should have everybody out in [riot] masks, and they should allow our judges to make decisions.”
He noted that instigators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that New York’s bail reform, which frees detainees that aren’t considered violent felons, “should be suspended.”
“Keep these people in the system until it gets under control,” Vallelong told the DCNF.
He said police department heads are in close contact with cities that were plagued by riots after the May death of George Floyd, like Portland and Seattle, in order to learn from past instances of unrest. He also added that the NYPD is most likely gathering intelligence ahead of Nov. 3.
Will De Blasio Get in the Way of a Proper Police Response in NYC?
The union official, however, insisted that the department’s response is contingent on the “marching orders” given by Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. Vallelong said previous decisions by de Blasio during earlier racial justice riots proved to be ineffective.
“I know what should be done, but it’s gonna be a matter of what are the marching orders that are going to be given from city hall when all of this happens,” he said. “We know from the past with watching what we saw — they let everybody run loose and pretty much destroy everything in the city.”
Vallelong also said the NYPD is struggling with a lack of officers, as the department experienced a 75% surge in retirements compared to 2019, according to Newsday.
Additionally, Yonkers, Westchester, and other New York agencies pledged to refuse to enter the city following a police reform bill that banned chokeholds and other methods of restraints, NBC New York reported.
“If it gets that bad and the NYPD can’t handle it, I don’t know of a bigger police department out there that could come and save them,” Vallelong said. “At that point you’re talking about the National Guard.”
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