National Guard withdraws from Capitol, other measures remain

From the Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday while the Washington National Guard will begin to withdraw from the Capitol campus in Olympia, some added long-term security measures will remain in the wake of increased threats that led up to Inauguration Day.

Inslee said in a news release he was pleased that law enforcement kept the area protected from potential civil unrest. He said the National Guard would demobilize over the weekend, but the Washington State Patrol will continue to have an increased presence and one area on campus would remain restricted.

“The Washington State Patrol and the Guard have served our state well in these dangerous and unprecedented times,” Inslee said. “I am certain their presence and other security measures are among the primary reasons we have enjoyed relative calm for the past two weeks.”

Inslee had said the Guard would support security efforts at the Capitol at least through Inauguration Day “due to evolving intelligence on security threats” posed in all 50 state Capitols.

Washington state’s Legislature convened Jan. 11 amid heightened security due to concerns about armed groups who might try to disrupt the proceedings. At least two people were arrested that day.

On Jan. 6, people broke a gate at the governor’s mansion and made it to the porch. That breach came hours after the pro-Trump attack on the nation’s Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

State Patrol Chief John Batiste said in the news release, “Like every other state Capitol, as well as our nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C., we have entered a new security environment that will require additional preparation and enhanced safety measures going forward. Our agency will be vigilant in that work.”

Capitol campus buildings are closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.