LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Local law enforcement officials are preparing for November’s unprecedented election due to the potential for unrest.
Los Angeles and Orange County officers are expected to increase deployment to keep the community safe.
Members of law enforcement have been provided cards with info on criminal codes pertaining to disrupting elections, while other personnel are learning to monitor police scanners for potential problems, according to a report in the New York Times.
“Leading up to this election period, I can’t say it any other way but it’s probably the most confrontational between either side and that manifests sometimes into bad actions that occur in the public space,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes.
Barnes said he isn’t planning to send deputies to the polls, but that his team will be ready to respond to any calls of voter intimidation or large gatherings that could get out of control.
“Our deployment will be increased as well to make sure we have a responsive element in case whether civil unrest or protests or something else,” he said.
The Los Angeles Police Department is also preparing for the unknowns of what has already been a tumultuous 2020 Election campaign.
“The department continues to monitor developments leading up to elections, including the potential and likelihood for widespread demonstrations and protests,” the LAPD department said in a statement.
“We have realigned portions of our organization to allow for added deployment of personnel.”
Policy changes are also reportedly occurring within police departments to account for the increase in officers.
The Los Angeles Times says a bulletin was put out to officers announcing restrictions on time off for what officials have designated as “special event” dates from Nov. 2-9.
Sources told the Times there was no specific threat linked to the Nov. 3 election.
Concerns about how Americans will react to the outcome of the election have been top of mind nationwide, research shows.
A recent YouGov poll found that more than half of the nearly 2,000 voters asked say they expect to see an increase in violence due to the election.
Other experts predict conflicts about the political races could break out after results are first released.
“It’s much more likely to come later when perhaps election results look like they’re changing, when there’s more litigation and again when there might be a higher voltage of rhetoric, perhaps from both candidates, but more likely for President Trump,” said Loyola Marymount Law Professor Jessica Levinson.
Levinson it’s important to remember that an accurate count of who won the election could take days or weeks after election night.
The counting of mail-in ballots could also impact the full picture of American votes, and Levinson says something else that could play a huge part in how the nation reacts is how the candidates respond to the election.
“We have a president of the United States who has not committed to a peaceful transfer of power. That’s different than what we’ve seen in modern times in our country and that’s what really creates a recipe for a different type of reaction,” Levinson said.
Federal law enforcement agencies are also prepared to respond to any safety or security issues surrounding election alongside local departments.
According to the Associated Press, the FBI has been conducting drills, but they noted that so far there is no information that points to any specific, credible threats to the election.