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Barricades, Drones, Horse-Mounted Officers: State Capitols In Delaware Valley On High Alert Leading Up To Inauguration Day

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- The nation's capital and landmarks across the United States are fortified, with more National Guard troops en route ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. The extraordinary security measures come as threats of more violence loom 10 days after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Government officials say the biggest threat to the nation is domestic extremists.

Tensions remain high over a week after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. To prevent further sedition, the FBI, state, and local law enforcement are investigating any possible threats.

Capitol Police
Capitol Police stand guard behind orange barricades at the Pennsylvania Capitol. An FBI bulletin warned that armed protests were planned at all the 50 state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. (Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

There's a heightened police presence in Philadelphia, at City Hall, Independence Hall, and other landmarks around the city.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday about 1,000 additional National Guard members have been activated to Washington, D.C. for assistance, bringing the total to 2,000.

Wolf has also called up about 450 Guard members to protect the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg and other possible targets of unrest. The FBI has warned of the potential for armed Trump supporters to cause trouble at state capitols around the country on Sunday and in the following days.

Police said Thursday their plans to defend the Pennsylvania Capitol include blocking off streets in Harrisburg and the use of helicopters, drones, and horse-mounted officers.

Thigh-high plastic pedestrian barriers have been erected outside the Capitol Complex, which Wolf has closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

In Harrisburg, there will be street closures beginning at 10 a.m.

"Extraordinary measures have been taken. Travel restrictions in and throughout Harrisburg have been implemented," Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said. "The peaceful transfer of power is not something we can take for granted at least for this inauguration."

In Trenton, New Jersey, a number of streets around City Hall will be closed as well as the New Jersey capitol complex in preparation for possible protests as early as Sunday.

"As many as it takes and there's even the National Guard is on standby," Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said. "We're going to do everything we can to protect persons and property in the City of Trenton and make sure we don't have a repeat of what happened at the U.S. Capitol."

New Jersey State Police is working with local, federal, and state law enforcement partners, including the FBI and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to assist with public safety at the state capital. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered state employees to work remotely on Wednesday.

"There are real threats put up against us that are pretty significant. Again, more akin to what I would see when I was working in counterterrorism," New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim said. "Sunday, there's this threat that is trying to mobilize one of the largest armed efforts."

It doesn't stop there. Metal fencing has been placed around the capitol in Delaware.

In Delaware, Gov. John Carney activated the National Guard to assist state and local authorities surrounding President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Carney said the order went into effect immediately and expires on Jan. 22, the day after the inauguration.

"Members of the Delaware National Guard have continued to step up -- time and time again -- to support their communities when that support is needed most," Carney said. "This time is no different. I want to thank all of our Delaware guardsmen and guardswomen for their selfless service to our state and country."

In Philadelphia, some locals are feeling a lot safer with increased patrols.

"It's good to know that they are there if needed if something does happen," a Philadelphia woman said, "but what I would like to see is for them -- I see them a lot in Center City. In the other neighborhoods, I do see them here and there but we do kind of got to spread it because just in case something does happen in other neighborhoods too. It does have me feel a little bit secure to have them on hand if needed."

These are all cautionary measures. Security has been beefed up, but authorities say there are no specific threats to the area at this time.

"There are people who are looking to take advantage of the unrest that's occurring right now," Joe Sullivan, a retired deputy commissioner with the Philadelphia Police Department, said. "This isn't a time to let your guard down. This is a time to overreact so to speak."

It's important to note that there are no specific threats to Philadelphia.

CBS3's Alecia Reid and Howard Monroe contributed to this report.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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