While no major civil unrest is expected to unfold in San Francisco over the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, local authorities are dedicating extra resources to protect the public and pledging to hold offenders who commit violence or vandalism accountable.
City officials are preparing for the unexpected after a mob supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed bid to overturn the results of the November election. Authorities are planning to have additional police officers on duty, an increased Sheriff’s Department presence at government buildings including City Hall and a fully staffed Fire Department in case of medical emergencies.
At a press conference Tuesday announcing the additional resources alongside police Chief Bill Scott, Mayor London Breed called the pro-Trump insurrection “shocking and disgusting.”
“I know people are nervous about something like that happening in San Francisco,” Breed said. “Well, let me be clear, we will be prepared for anything tomorrow. Our focus is and always will be on keeping people safe.”
Scott said the San Francisco Police Department is not anticipating significant disruptions in The City.
“At this time we have no credible notifications of major protests or civil unrest likely taking place in the city and county of San Francisco, however we will be prepared for anything and everything,” Scott said.
The department has cancelled discretionary days off for officers and will be cooperating with local, state and federal authorities to “preserve order and protect everyone’s safety,” Scott said.
In a video statement Tuesday, District Attorney Chesa Boudin also condemned attempts to interfere with the democratic process and said he would charge those who commit violence or vandalism in San Francisco.
“I hope that on Inauguration Day our country will enjoy a peaceful transition of power,” Boudin said. “We support peaceful First Amendment activity. However, we will not tolerate violence, destruction of property or interference with the election process.”
The FBI has reportedly urged police across the nation to be on high alert for potential extremist violence ahead of the inauguration.
While pro-Trump supporters were rumored to be planning a rally outside the Twitter building on Market Street last Monday, the event failed to materialize. Still, the SFPD made a strong showing, with officers and barricades lining the streets.
For Inauguration Day, San Francisco plans to activate its Emergency Operations Center to streamline communication between agencies.
Officials are also urging the public to stay safe during the pandemic by remaining indoors and watching the inauguration on television.
“COVID won’t be taking tomorrow off,” Scott said. “Stay at home.”