ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The nation is on high alert with concerns over security ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
The FBI says it’s tracking an extensive amount of concerning online chatter, and authorities in all 50 states are preparing.
In Lehigh and Northampton counties, heightened security measures are already in place at the courthouses. Increased security will extend beyond Biden’s inauguration.
Both counties say they haven’t been given any indication an attack is coming, and leaders are hopeful that peaceful protests over the summer are an indication that things will remain calm.
Officials believe things will remain quiet locally, though capital police across the country are prepared for anything.
“We are well prepared to take on anything that may or may not come our way the next couple days,” said Chief Tom Carter, of the Harrisburg Police Department.
Security is ramping up across the country in state capitals like Harrisburg, as it’s less than a week away from Biden’s inauguration.
Authorities across different agencies are working together to bring in special response teams.
“These are highly trained individuals who specialize in crisis response situations…escalation and other special tactics,” said Joe Jacob, superintendent of the Pa. Capitol police.
Pennsylvania Capitol police plan to shut down roads if necessary, and dispatch 300-400 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. They say for now, it’s out of an abundance of caution.
Security has already heightened in the nation’s capital, too.
“Our perimeter is expansive. It basically covers most of downtown Washington, D.C., it’s effectuated by many, many miles of hard fence, and is supported by many, many thousands of law enforcement and National Guard personnel,” said Marty Wilkerson, director of the Secret Service.
The January 6th deadly riots are still being investigated and arrests are being made, like retired Chester, Pennsylvania firefighter Robert Sanford, accused of throwing a fire extinguisher during the riots that struck three police officers.
“So we know who you are, if you’re out there. And FBI agents are coming to find you. My advice to people that might be inclined to follow in the footsteps of those who engage in the kind of activity we saw in the last week is stay home,” said Chris Wray, FBI director.