LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — All across the Southland and other parts of the U.S. as voters are casting their ballots, law enforcement agencies are also preparing for the outcome of what has been a contentious election campaign.
While Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and local police and sheriff’s departments have clarified that there are no confirmed attempts of upcoming unrest on election day, officials are still taking steps to be prepared.
“We are very prepared for the elections, but at the same time, I don’t want to buy into a narrative that there’s going to be chaos during our elections,” Garcetti said. “We prepare for the worst, but we are hoping and expect generally the best.”
As businesses board up throughout Los Angeles and Orange County to protect themselves from looting similar to what was seen during protests against police brutality, police are increasing their patrols and adding more personnel to their teams in case voters react violently to the election results.
“As Election Day approaches and with the potential of increased demonstration and protect activity across the region, the city is taking a proactive approach to ensure a safe community for residents, businesses and visitors,” Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said in a message to the community last week. “Beginning on Halloween and through election week,
the Beverly Hills Police Department will be on full alert throughout the residential and business districts. Additionally, other law enforcement personnel and private security companies will offer support. Some businesses in the city may choose to limit operations during this time.
“…While we are hopeful for peaceful weeks ahead. your police department is prepared to protect our city,” he added.
In Torrance, police are also putting plans in place to keep the community protected from potential unrest.
“We have prepared an operational plan to ensure the protection and safety of our residents and visitors,” according to a social media post from the Torrance Police Department. “We’ve added additional officers to the field, activated our Emergency Operations Center and will work with all city resources and critical infrastructures within Torrance to ensure community safety. Additionally, a mutual aid plan has been established to assist our law enforcement partners in the event of any civil unrest or other disruption.”
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Malibu/Lost Hills Station said it is working with law enforcement agencies within a 30-mile radius to help protect residents.
“All our stations are on a modified schedule for maximum readiness,” said Capt. Salvador Becerra. All have activated their Mobile Field Forces. All have activated their Emergency Operation Centers. And all are fishing for intelligence to support their missions. Thus far, no intelligence exist to suggest we will face a civil uprising. Nonetheless, we are prepared for it. We are hoping for the best, but are planning for the worst.”
Other communities and cities, including Lakewood, Long Beach, Downtown L.A., and West Hollywood have also been taking precautions against potential disturbances, whether on a wide law enforcement scale or individually as businesses.
Despite some of the concerns and the unprecedented levels of preparation going into the election, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said that shouldn’t deter people from voting.
“…I do not expect that to be anything widespread. There may be individual instances, we’ll see some stuff around the country. But don’t let any of that change the narrative of you, your right to vote — and don’t be scared to vote,” Garcetti said. “We need everybody’s vote protected.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)