RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper has mobilized approximately 550 North Carolina National Guardsmen to assist with upcoming security needs in Washington and Raleigh.
Around 350 troops were activated for security in North Carolina, beginning this weekend to support state and local authorities.
“They’ll stage in a location to be determined and they’ll be mobile and flexible to either move by air, or they can move by vehicles to a city or location,” said Lt. Col. Matt DeVivo, public affairs officer for the North Carolina National Guard. “It’s up to the civil authorities to say, ‘we can use some assistance,’ and then they will move out.”
An additional 200 will go to Washington, D.C. for help prior to and during the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.
“Ongoing security concerns in Washington, D.C. and state capitals around the nation following last week’s attack on the US Capitol must be taken seriously, and I will deploy necessary resources to keep North Carolinians safe. I have spoken with state and federal authorities and thank the men and women of the North Carolina National Guard for their continued service to our state and nation,” Cooper said.
State and local law enforcement leaders told CBS 17 on Tuesday they are working together, and remain vigilant against threats at North Carolina’s Capitol and grounds this weekend.
DeVivo said the guardsmen will travel to Washington, D.C. either sometime this weekend or on Monday.
“They will then be apart and under the control of the Washington D.C. National Guard,” he added
Their duties are to be determined, but DeVivo said they will not be on the frontlines. Instead, they will play a supporting role similar to their response during last year’s protests in Raleigh and Fayetteville.
He explained: “They can assist with logistics and movement of supplies or a bus of cargo or a high clearance vehicle to taken law enforcement to a different location. So there’s many different things we can do.
“It enables law enforcement to get around and do more of the serious law enforcement tasks and let us do more of the site security and things that free them up to be more flexible and move around the event.”
The FBI issued a warning about planned armed protests at all 50 state capitols this weekend. A flyer circulating online calls for armed marches Sunday.
“We don’t know yet who is planning to come here. We are working with Capitol Police. We are working with State Highway Patrol. We are working with the legislative police. We are collaborating. We are sharing information,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety, which oversees Capitol Police, said it can’t comment on specific security plans, but it remains extremely vigilant.
DeVivo added: “The ultimate goal whether it’s for North Carolina or D.C., is to ensure our citizens can exercise their rights and peacefully protest and assemble, but do it safely.”