Hoping for civil protests, Department of Public Safety Commissioner says Iowa is prepared for the worst

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The FBI’s Omaha Field Office said it has not received any specific threats of violence at state Capitols in its area — including Iowa — but the Iowa Department of Public Safety said it remains prepared, just in case.

“Right now we are extremely well prepared and we prepare for the worst and expect Iowans will conduct themselves appropriately,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens.

Bayens said there is now increased uniformed personnel and ununiformed personnel patrolling the Iowa State Capitol. It comes after the FBI warned that all 50 state capitals should prepare for armed protests in the wake of this month’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“We have the Division of Intelligence and that includes a fleet of analysts that are constantly looking at social media, evaluating various threats that may be emerging, and maintaining contact with the FBI, other federal partners and local partners to really assess those threats,” Bayens said.

The Iowa State Patrol is normally the agency patrolling the grounds, but Bayens said other agencies are also included in contingency plans and will be ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Bayens said for everyone’s safety, organizers of any planned protests this week have a responsibility and should call out inappropriate behavior as soon as it happens.

“If you are an organizer of a group and you start to see individuals attempting to turn that group away from your intended purpose, make sure to let us know and say ‘this guy is not with us,'” Bayens said. “Don’t get overcome by that emotion and passion. Don’t let the quality of your message get drowned out by emotional response.”

Bayens expects the increased security to be on hand through the presidential inauguration and the department will reassess the need after Wednesday.

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