JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Law enforcement agencies across the country and in the Jacksonville area are preparing for the national security threats surrounding the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Rachael Rojas, special agent in charge of the FBI Jacksonville field office, said she is taking things very seriously.
“We are going through every single tip,” Rojas said. “We take everybody’s information very seriously, and we share that accordingly to our partners immediately.”
This comes after the FBI put out a warning of credible threats to government buildings in every state, including Washington D.C.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 Jan. through at least 20 Jan., and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 Jan. through 20 Jan.,” according to reports on the bulletin.
Agents said they identified a group “planning to storm government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump.”
The Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol showed the anger of many Americans and the gaps in security as a mob of rioters pushed past police and smashed through doors.
“Our citizens are our first priority,” Rojas said. “We want everyone to be safe. We understand there is a heightened emotional cause right now.”
She did not confirm or deny any direct security threats in her district.
“We don’t typically share the exact intelligence or investigations we’re working, but thankfully the public really contributed to a lot of information we’re receiving through tips, whether it’s the Capitol or inauguration,” Rojas said.
She told News4Jax she’s been working with local, state and federal agencies, including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“We can ramp up pretty quickly,” said Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams. “But clearly top of mind for us and paying attention to what we see here.”
He said there are no direct threats of violence that he’s aware of now, but it’s possible. That’s why they’re planning for the worst.
“Like any protest, if you will, at the end of the day, it’s about being prepared,” Williams said. “I think you saw what happened in the Capitol when you’re not prepared and we’re certainly not going to be in that posture.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Williams and Rojas said their teams have not gotten the call for help in D.C., but both had this message: “If you see something, say something.”
Anyone with information about the U.S. Capitol siege can submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/USCapitol. They can also call call 1-800-CALL-FBI.