The Maine State House is illuminated at dusk on Monday. Maine’s Department of Public Safety says it has increased security around the building and will continue to make adjustments in the days leading up President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Maine is among the states that has begun to beef up security around the State House and other government buildings in Augusta following the insurrection by President Trump’s supporters at the U.S. Capitol last week and the threat of more violence by extremists seeking to reverse the election.

Five people, including one police officer, died after Trump supporters stormed the building and threatened the safety of Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress.

Maine’s Department of Public Safety confirmed Monday that it has increased security around the State House and will continue to make adjustments in the days leading up President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

The department, which oversees the Maine State Police and the Capitol Police among other law enforcement agencies, began stepping up security measures on Monday after the FBI issued a warning Sunday alerting state and local police in all 50 states that armed protests were being planned at every state capitol in the United States. The protests could begin as soon as Saturday and could last through Jan. 20, according to the FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.

The department issued a statement Monday acknowledging that it is aware of the FBI report and is taking it “extremely seriously.”

In the statement, the Maine State Police, working with its Maine Information Analysis Center, said it will remain in contact throughout the next nine days with its federal partners to maintain “situational awareness about the potential for civil unrest activities” in Maine.


“In response to the events last week and new reports outlined by the FBI, the Capitol Police (in Augusta), with the support of the Maine State Police, has increased its presence in and around the Capitol. The Capitol Police will continue to adjust protocols appropriately, when and as needed, but, as a matter of longstanding practice, it does not discuss more specific operational details of its work,” the statement reads.

“Our goal is to facilitate the peaceful and lawful expression of speech and to protect the welfare and safety of all Maine people, and we will continue to work to achieve that,” the Department of Public Safety said.

On Monday, the U.S. House was moving rapidly to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection.

Normally, Maine’s State House is protected by a force of 13 officers in the Capitol Police.

The commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Michael Sauschuck, also issued a statement Monday partially acknowledging the threats against government buildings in Maine.

“Over the past several months, Maine has experienced various protests,” Sauschuck said. “We hope and expect that any similar events that may occur in the future will be held in a peaceful and lawful manner.


“The Maine State Police, along with Capitol Police, take their mission to protect public safety seriously, are engaged in it around-the-clock, and will continue to work collaboratively in support of our local and county law enforcement partners across Maine to serve and protect Maine people.”

The most recent protest in Maine occurred Saturday, when a group of about 20 people gathered in Augusta to protest COVID-19 restrictions and requirements put in place to protect against the spread of the virus. Among the protesters were at least two men who were dressed in camouflage carrying firearms. A small contingent of Capitol Police, in a pair of police cruisers, was visible nearby.

Those who want to hold their protests on state property in Augusta, including the State House and its surrounding grounds, are required to get a permit from the Capitol Police.

Nationally, state capitols were in the spotlight in 2020 as conservative activists, often carrying military-style firearms and wearing bulletproof vests, agitated against COVID-19 restrictions.

In April, armed protesters forced their way into the Michigan State House to object to pandemic-related lockdowns.

In August, self-styled “patriots,” anti-vaccination groups and other protesters temporarily derailed a special legislative session in Idaho that was called to address pandemic-related election issues. And less than a month ago, crowds forced their way into the state Capitol in Salem, Oregon, to protest the building’s closure to the public during a special legislative session on coronavirus measures.


In Maine, Sauschuck offered no details on what steps authorities are taking to protect the State House, and he declined a request to speak with a reporter on the topic, issuing a prepared statement instead.

Maine’s State House, currently closed to the public in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, is guarded 24 hours a day. During normal operations, all visitors must pass through a security checkpoint that includes a metal detector and X-ray screening.

Those allowed into the building without screenings include state lawmakers and their staffs, Gov. Janet Mills and her staff, and a contingent of other state employees. Mills is protected by another state police unit that provide around-the-clock security. Also allowed access to the building is a small group of journalists, all of whom are cleared after criminal background checks.

Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin also declined a request for an interview Monday, referring all questions to Sauschuck’s office. In addition to the 13 officers in his Gauvin’s unit, state properties also are protected by four unarmed security screeners and a pair of watchmen who guard state buildings in Augusta and Hallowell over the weekends.

Mills’ office did not respond to questions Monday about whether her office was taking additional steps to protect state buildings and whether she had considered activating the Maine National Guard to provide additional security.

But The Associated Press quoted Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, on Monday as saying that the guard is looking at the potential for civil unrest across the country.

“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested,” Hokanson said.

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