COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH — On Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine announced he was activating up to 580 members of the Ohio National Guard for use in Ohio and Washington D.C.
“This is an activation of members of the National Guard to bring them up to the highest level that is needed and to be available for use in Washington and in the state of Ohio,” DeWine said during a coronavirus briefing Tuesday.
The activation, issued via a state order, allows the guardsmen “to begin training in preparation to assist during the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.”
“People have the right to protest, they do not have the right to be destructive, they do not have the right to hurt other people,” he said. “There will be enough people there from law enforcement and the National Guard.”
Later in the news conference, DeWine said he is prepared to activate more guardsmen if needed, but that he was following the advice of Ohio National Guard Gen. John C. Harris as to the number of guardsmen to activate.
The activation of the guard comes after calls for an armed protest at state capitals across the country were made public. Now, local law enforcement agencies are preparing for the worst.
“Clearly the groups that are involved really have no hesitancy to break the law and commit acts of violence,” said Harry Trombitas, retired FBI special agent.
Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan released the following statement Tuesday:
“We are working with our law enforcement partners at every level of government to ensure the security of our statehouse and the safety of our city. We are working in consultation with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association. We have plans in place, but to avoid compromising them, we do not release our plans in advance.”Columbus Division of Police Chief Thomas Quinlan
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said everything is on the table when it comes to keeping Columbus safe but people do have a right to protest as long as things stay peaceful.
“There are groups that are calling for protests that don’t share our values about inclusion, respecting the rule of law, the peaceful transition of power — we reject that, but we respect their right to protest,” Ginther said.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol also said it is consistently evaluating security at the Statehouse and if there are protests, troopers will be there.
The Ohio National Guard issued a statement Tuesday evening, saying a portion of those activated guardsmen would be headed to Washington D.C.:
Gov. DeWine is activating up to 580 Ohio National Guard members on state active duty for training to be available should assistance be needed by local and state law enforcement in Ohio municipalities and at the Ohio Statehouse to provide safety and protection to citizens and property while ensuring people’s right to demonstrate peacefully.
To clarify the information from this afternoon’s news conference (the Governor was initially given incorrect information), there will an additional activation of approximately 200 Guard members deployed in a federal status to Washington D.C. to support civil authorities with security-related missions throughout the presidential inauguration. The scope and duration of their support will be determined by the U.S. Secret Service, the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, and implementing security for the presidential inauguration.
The Ohio National Guard is also providing personnel and equipment for communications and food service during the inauguration.
Since George Washington’s inauguration in 1789, the National Guard has supported the peaceful transition of power and ensured the safety and well-being of our fellow Americans.Statement, The Ohio National Guard