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State To 'Bad Actors' At Connecticut Capitol Protest: 'We Already Have Eyes On You'

Officials from the Connecticut State Police and the State Capitol Police discuss preparations for a possible Jan. 17 protest in Hartford.
Officials from the Connecticut State Police and the State Capitol Police discuss preparations for a possible Jan. 17 protest in Hartford.

Police plan to have a massive presence at a demonstration possibly taking place Sunday at the state Capitol in Hartford, anticipating it could be much larger than a typical protest there.

It’s in response to intelligence gathered by state officials in the wake of last week’s violent mob storming of the U.S. Capitol -- and an FBI warning that all 50 state capitol buildings are vulnerable to similar attacks.

Brian Foley, assistant to the commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, is sending a message specifically to “bad actors” who have designs on disrupting a peaceful protest.

“The technology that is being deployed to this location -- and other locations around the state -- lets us know exactly who is there, and we’re able to retain and watch darn near everything,” Foley said. “If you’re close to the event and coming to the event, chances are we already have eyes on you.”

That message is also directed at police, whom Foley said have already been told to remain unbiased. If they aren’t, he believes a camera will pick it up.

“It’ll be made clear to the troopers -- and all the law enforcement officers that are going to partake in the events on Sunday -- that the eyes are on you. Understand that you have to be unbiased and protect all people and be on your best behavior.”

Some of the surveillance technology Foley was talking about are cameras mounted to the exterior of the state Capitol, street cameras, police car cameras and police body cameras.

“I’m confident in our planning, I’m confident in our response that it will be a safe day,” Foley said.

The effort to secure the protest, Foley said, will be supported Sunday by the state’s homeland security division, local police, State Capitol Police and the federal government.

Gov. Ned Lamont said state workers will telecommute as much as possible next week to cut down on the number of people working at the Capitol complex.

Chief of Staff Paul Mounds told a media briefing Thursday that extra security is on hand and ready.

“The National Guard stands ready to support the Connecticut State Police and the [State Capitol] Police as needed,” he said.

The state has also sent members of the National Guard to Washington, D.C., to assist in the security operation there ahead of Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

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