Barriers, police added at Pennsylvania Capitol ahead of possible armed protests

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania -- The agency that protects the Pennsylvania Capitol building said Thursday officials are not aware of specific threats to the facility but are bolstering security measures.

Troy Thompson with the Department of General Services, which oversees Capitol Police, said there are additional officers inside and out, and barriers have been erected in recent days.

"We are facing never before experience situations but we have extensive experience among the Pa. Capitol Police and the partnering agencies," said Superintendent Joe Jacob, with Pennsylvania Capitol Police.

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He noted Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has not issued an order to close the downtown Harrisburg complex next week, but that could change if necessary.

State capitols around the United States have heightened security after the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. The FBI has warned there are calls for armed protests at state capitals and in Washington, D.C., on Sunday and ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

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"We are going to provide aviation support, including fixed winged aircraft, helicopters and several department drones," said Lieutenant Scott Price, with Pennsylvania State Police.

Most Capitol employees under Wolf's jurisdiction currently work remotely, and the ornate building is closed to the general public because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thompson said police continue to monitor the potential for violence or unrest and will publicly discuss plans and preparations in more detail later Thursday.
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