Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter is hosting a virtual meeting with police leaders from across Chatham County on Friday afternoon to discuss the potential of local threats related to expected unrest surrounding the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., and to coordinate response strategies.
According to a Savannah Police Department spokesperson, at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15 Minter is hosting a meeting for local law-enforcement department leaders as part of a continuing series of discussions about safety and security measures associated with next week’s inauguration.
Nationwide, law-enforcement agencies are gearing up to address threats of potentially violent protesters wreaking havoc in Washington, D.C. and in all 50 state capitals as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.
The threats follow a failed insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the seat of Congress and caused widespread destruction resulting in the deaths of five, including U.S. Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick.
During Friday’s Chatham County Commission meeting, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley mentioned that he would be attending Minter’s meeting after already participating in several conference calls with varied law-enforcement agencies.
Hadley said that as of Friday morning, there were no known threats of violent unrest in Chatham’s varied communities.
“There are no specific threats to Savannah,” Hadley said. “That doesn’t mean we are not prepared.”
Hadley said that the meeting Friday afternoon would help all of Chatham’s police leaders be ready for a prompt and coordinated response if unrest were to occur locally during the upcoming week.
“We can respond quickly and mobilize and keep Chatham County safe,” Hadley said.
On Jan. 12, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced that he was cancelling his plans to attend Biden’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., and would instead be in Savannah to help address any local threats.
“Locally, we have our own challenges, and so we’re also going to keep our eyes on what’s happening here in Savannah,” Johnson said, while expressing confidence in the city’s ability to keep the peace. “We plan for these things before these things happen. We have some well-documented plans for how to deal with a variety of issues related to public unrest.”