JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville FBI is ready to respond to threats of violence or criminal activity in North Florida.
The FBI special agent in charge in Jacksonville, Rachel Rojas, sent the news in a letter to the media.
The letter of January 15 reads in part:
“As the head of the FBI in Jacksonville, I want to assure you that my team is ready to respond to any threat of violence or criminal activity that comes under our jurisdiction. We will not tolerate those who want to wreak havoc in our communities, and we have devoted all of our investigative resources to this endeavor. This includes, but is not limited to, hundreds of agents and analysts working around the clock to hold those responsible for the violent actions in the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and to identify individuals , to investigate and disturb who are intent on inciting more violence in the future. This work is fully coordinated with our partners at the federal, state and local levels. Together we are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all citizens across North Florida. “
The news comes after an internal FBI bulletin warned of the potential for armed protests in the country’s Capitol and in all 50 of the state’s Capitol buildings beginning this weekend.
Rojas told News4Jax last week that she had worked with local, state and federal agencies, including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“We go through every single tip,” said Rojas. “We take everyone’s information very seriously and share it with our partners accordingly.”
The threat of potentially violent demonstrations prompted some governors to tighten security on Sunday, less than two weeks after a mob overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Fences, boarded up windows and additional police and National Guard troops transformed some state houses ahead of the expected protests that led to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.
News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney, director of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University, said the inauguration will be unlike any other in United States history.
“The two biggest factors, # 1 of course, is the pandemic – the first time an initiation occurs during a pandemic. Even the pandemic a century ago in 1918 had largely subsided by the inauguration in 1921. This will lead to social distancing, lots of crowds and a fundamental change, “Mullaney said on The Morning Show on Sunday. “The second is of course the January 6th DC riot. That has made it safer, so it will look very different. Instead of 200,000 attendees, you might have 2,000. “
Mullaney said that while security has been increased at previous initiations, this year will be different.
“We have already increased security once. We had it after 9/11. We had it in 2009 when Barack Obama was inaugurated. But the increased security this year is unique in our history – over 20,000 National Guard troops, the National Mall closure, security across the country and in DC in anticipation and concern of these protests, “he said. “I am hopeful and very optimistic that we will not see anything we saw in the DC riot – this will both be a deterrent – I hope you will not see that. But of course safety precautions are taken. “
Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard on Friday to assist state and local law enforcement agencies. The governor’s executive order to mobilize the National Guard was issued “in response to reports of possible unrest,” the DeSantis office said in a press release. The state also deployed 600 National Guard soldiers to protect the U.S. Capitol.
The US attorney for the Northern District of Florida said in a statement on Friday: “If you pose a threat to public safety, we will come and meet you, find you and prosecute you.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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