SPRINGFIELD Governor JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard for State Active Duty in response to the warnings issued this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding threats to state capital cities in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Our state public safety agencies, including the Illinois State Police (ISP), Secretary of State Police and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are working in tandem with local and federal counterparts to protect the residents of Illinois while safeguarding the right to peaceful protest.
At the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Governor also activated an additional 100 members of the Illinois National Guard in support of the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. These additional troops will join the approximately 200 members of the Guard that were previously activated by the Governor.
"Following the violent siege at our nation's capitol and reports from federal law enforcement on threats to state capitals, I am bringing all resources to bear to protect our residents and our democratic process," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Our exemplary members of the Illinois National Guard will be working closely with our State Police as well as local and federal authorities to keep our capital city safe. We will continue to be fully transparent with the public on any new information and the steps we are taking to respond."
On Monday, January 11, the Federal Bureau of Investigations issued an intelligence bulletin pointing to the potential for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C. in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
"As with recent previous deployments, the Illinois State Police will work side by side with the Illinois National Guard and our local partners to execute our mission of protecting the democratic process," said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.
The Illinois National Guard will not interfere with peaceful protestors exercising their first amendment rights. The role of the soldiers is to aide local authorities in enforcing street closures and designated perimeters.
"Our Soldiers and Airmen come from every community across Illinois and each has sworn to protect their communities, their state and their nation," said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard. "We draw our strength from our communities and are proud to serve in our communities."
Over the last 12 months, Illinois public safety agencies have undergone hundreds of hours of cross training and tactical planning. These preparedness efforts have been enhanced by our skilled mutual-aid network.
"Illinois' robust mutual-aid network allows for expedited resource sharing from personnel to equipment," said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "Our local partners are an invaluable tool to enhance our state's overall readiness. These associations and organizations are a testament to the strength of our state's response capabilities."