Metro Denver communities preparing for potential political unrest

DENVER (KDVR) — Local municipalities are preparing for the possibility of political unrest over the next several days and weeks. 

The Broomfield Police Department posted the following on its social media channels:

“The Broomfield Police Department is actively monitoring the potential protests and counter protests at the federal and state level on Inauguration Day, with a close eye on any potential threats to this community.”

The post goes on to say, “While current public safety advisories do not indicate a high likelihood of non-peaceful protests threatening our city, please take solace in the fact that the Broomfield Police Department is prepared to respond accordingly, and as always, support the public’s right to peaceful assembly under the First Amendment.”

Broomfield is not alone in preparing for potential disturbances. 

Denver and Aurora police departments both tell FOX31 they are monitoring and planning for demonstrations within their communities. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says it is working with its local municipalities to plan "staffing appropriately to ensure public safety measures are in place."

“It’s been very difficult because we’re kind of in uncharted waters,” retired FBI agent Bob Pence told FOX31. 

Pence was the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Rocky Mountain Region in the late 1980s to mid-1990s. He says in his decades of work in the FBI, he rarely had to plan and prepare for situations like law enforcement are today. 

“The closest that I can think of that was similar was the Vietnam War era when America was incredibly violent as far as groups that wanted to destroy the government,” he said. 

However, he says in planning for potential unrest surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day, law enforcement today should already be familiar with their agency’s standard operating procedures from protests and riots during the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer. 

“A lot of the police departments, sheriff's offices, have had actual, not practice, but experience in being deployed for unrest this particular year, so it’s not going to be all new to them,” Pence said. 

Tuesday, the FBI’s Denver field office said, “The FBI is supporting our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners with maintaining public safety in the communities we serve. Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity.”

According to Pence, over the next few days, local, state and federal authorities will continue to prepare equipment, staffing and protocols with the intent to not have to use them. 

“They’ll be reminded of all that -- what they’re not allowed to do, what they should do. And obviously the idea is to keep it a peaceful protest, demonstrations that’s allowed under our Constitution,” Pence said. 

The U.S. Attorney for Colorado and FBI urge residents to stay vigilant. If you are at a gathering and notice something suspicious, or if you see something online, report it immediately. Call 303-629-7171 or visit the FBI’s website.