FRESNO, California (KSEE) – As the nation braces for possible unrest on Inauguration Day, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are finalizing preparations.
Tuesday afternoon, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Police Chief Paco Balderrama, City Council President Luis Chavez, council members Esmeralda Soria and Miguel Arias, and local faith leaders gathered outside city hall to urge calm and unity.
Chief Balderrama said the department is working with the FBI and other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to prepare for any possible violence in the city. As of Tuesday afternoon, he says they have received no credible information of threats of violence or planned protests in Fresno on Wednesday.
He said the department has been working on an operational plan for Wednesday to be ready to tackle any potential violence. Few details are being released but the Chief says to expect to see a stronger police presence around the city.
“It’s very important that we acknowledge that people have the right to assemble, they have the right to protest. However, those rights are a little bit limited, you know, they do not have the right to assault vandalize, or to be engaged in civil disorder,” said Chief Balderrama.
Mayor Dyer said the majority of city employees will work from home Wednesday, adding most are anyway due to the pandemic. He said no city employees or elected officials have received threats.
“We don’t have time to fight each other because the enemy is not us. It’s not each other. The enemy is the pandemic. And the enemy is loss of hope, loss of faith in our future,” said City Council President Luis Chavez.
Mayor Dyer, a man of strong faith himself, invited local pastors to speak after seeing Christian flags at the Capitol On January 6. He called the use of religion for political purposes, inappropriate.
“All I can think of is we have turned from God’s ways and our lives and our nation. We are now wrapping our politics in the flag rather than allowing religion to impact our views,” said North Park Church Pastor Bob Willis.
Dyer encouraged people to take a day off of social media, find unity and support a peaceful transition of power.
“We cannot allow them to control our emotions, our actions, or cause us to do something we will regret later, and I believe that’s what we saw at the U.S. Capitol, it’s driven by extremism, and it’s being driven by people who are being radicalized into thinking something that isn’t true,” said Dyer.