The Michigan attorney general announced on Twitter the statehouse was not safe.
State police in Maryland said they were preparing for armed demonstrators.
And Washington state’s governor authorized 750 National Guard members to protect the Capitol in Olympia.
These moves followed an FBI warning Monday that armed protests were planned in all 50 state capital cities across the U.S. — including Santa Fe — as well as in Washington, D.C., ahead of Inauguration Day. The warning comes in the wake of last week’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol in an effort by supporters of Republican President Donald Trump to halt congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win.
While recent protests at the New Mexico Roundhouse — such as one Thursday that drew several hundred Trump supporters — have remained mostly peaceful, leaders of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies said they were prepared for any event at the Capitol over the coming week that might get out of hand.
Frank Fisher, a spokesman for the FBI in Albuquerque, said in an email Tuesday his agency is working with local law enforcement to “identify any potential threats and make sure we share intelligence with each other.”
Adding to the potential for violence in New Mexico, the Legislature will convene its 60-day session at the Roundhouse on Tuesday — a day before Biden takes office. Some critics have decried the Legislature’s decision to hold much of the session virtually, which will limit public access to a building that normally is open to all residents.
A New Mexico State Police spokesman said the agency is “prepared to respond to events of civil unrest” surrounding the session or Biden’s inauguration.
“Given the current climate in our country, we will not rule out such events taking place during the upcoming legislative session, or on Inauguration Day or in the days and weeks surrounding either event, for that matter,” Officer Dusty Francisco said in an email.
“We are collaborating with our local law enforcement partners in order to implement a systematic coordinated response should gatherings become other than peaceful,” he added.
The response to a violent protest could include members of the New Mexico National Guard if Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham decides to make the call.
Spokesman Joseph Vigil said the Guard has been “planning, coordinating and is ready to support our state and federal law enforcement agency partners.”
Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham, said the governor expects “a peaceful and safe legislative session, but law enforcement will be prepared for any potential incidence or escalation of right-wing domestic terrorism.”
More changes to legislative procedures and Roundhouse security also could be coming in light of the protests, said state Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat.
Though Wirth said he could not provide more details about possible security initiatives, he said, “Santa Feans are gonna see lots of differences. It’s ramping up.”
He said “nothing is off the table” — including measures limiting access to streets surrounding the Capitol.
Raúl Burciaga, director of the Legislative Council Service, said building administrators have been in “essential discussions with law enforcement and security officials in putting together a security plan for the session.”
“We will have the usual Capitol security force inside the building helping to verify people’s identity and keeping the building safe,” Burciaga said.
Republican state Sen. Greg Baca of Belen said he wasn’t worried about his safety at the Capitol during the upcoming session.
“We’ve never had an incident there thus far, and I think we have a pretty good track record,” he said. “I have an eminent amount of faith in state police and their operations and ability to keep us safe in that building.”
State and city police were on hand for last week’s rally at the Roundhouse, which was raucous at times but did not become violent.
Still, several law enforcement officials said there was potential for violence. One cited a shooting in June during an Albuquerque demonstration to remove a public statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate.
“We’ve had people get shot during a protest, we’ve had people severely injured because of a protest,” said Maj. Luis Hernandez of the state police Special Operations Bureau.
“Most people will go out there and protest or do a demonstration without necessarily turning it into a riot,” he said in an interview last week. “We haven’t had that many issues when you compare it to the grand scheme of what is going on across the country — in Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs. We haven’t seen that level of riot breaking out across our cities.”
Santa Fe police Deputy Chief Paul Joye said law enforcement agencies “always have to think about the worst-case scenario — and if things were to go bad, how would they go bad and how would we respond to it when certain scenarios play out?”