Law enforcement agencies across the Southland were on heightened alert Wednesday for potential violence tied to the inauguration of President Joe Biden, but two major Los Angeles departments said no related disturbances had arisen by late afternoon.
Representatives with both the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said their departments had not been called out to any major or violent incidents on Wednesday related to the inauguration, but that authorities would continue to be on the lookout Wednesday night.
LAPD Officer Mike Lopez said about 5 p.m. the agency had “no issues.”
“We’ll be monitoring throughout the night and we have plenty of resources available to respond in case anything comes down,” he said.
Deputy Miguel Meza with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also said the agency wasn’t aware of any related incidents on Wednesday.
Local authorities previously insisted there were no credible threats of local violence or disturbances connected with the inauguration, but urged residents to remain vigilant.
“I can understand people’s anxiety, here in Los Angeles and certainly around the country after watching what happened in our nation’s capital on the Jan. 6 attack,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
“The insurrection wasn’t an attack on Congress or on a party, it was an assault on our democracy and on the peaceful transition of power and the will of the people.
“While that mob failed … it did embolden armed groups across our country and provoked new threats to American cities.”
Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said the agency was not aware of any credible threats in the counties her office covers — Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Riverside and Ventura.
Law enforcement nevertheless prepared for potential violence.
“We have ensured we’re prepared for whatever may occur here. As the saying goes, we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Tuesday.
The sheriff’s Special Operations Division was to deploy its deputies in “larger numbers than normal,” the division’s chief said.
There was also to be an increased presence on transit systems throughout the county, and a large contingent of the department’s special weapons team on the ground and in the air throughout the week.
The sheriff’s department’s hazardous materials teams, canine units and tactical bomb technicians were also be deployed.
As for the LAPD, its officers have “been in uniform since yesterday, the entire organization. We’ve been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the intel cycle, on planning of eventualities and potential realities,” Chief Michel Moore said on Tuesday. “We will be here and we will meet any threat that comes our way.”
The Long Beach Police Department said on social media about 6 p.m. Wednesday that it would be returning to regular operations “effective immediately” after being on a tactical alert since Tuesday evening, meaning the agency had increased the number of officers on the streets and could extend officers’ shifts depending on circumstances.
“We will continue to monitor regional events and provide you with updates, if necessary,” the department said in a tweet.
In the event that the city and county’s resources are depleted, the National Guard has 200 troops stationed in Los Alamitos on standby and ready to respond, but there are no current plans to deploy them, Garcetti said.
“I want to be very clear. If you are planning violence here in Los Angeles, you will be stopped, you will be prosecuted and you will pay the price,” he said. “We are prepared to maintain order and to protect our city.”
The U.S. Postal Service also temporarily removed mailboxes in key areas of Los Angeles, notably in the downtown Civic Center area and the Van Nuys Civic Center.
Angelenos were urged to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity or violence to law enforcement.
“As always, we need the help of the community. I am asking anybody that has any information about criminal or suspicious activity to please contact my office at 310-477-6565 or visit tips.fbi.gov,” Johnson said.
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