DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police are on heightened alert this election. Public Safety Director Murphy Robinson says while the city hasn’t received any credible threats, there are signs that people are on edge.
Denver Police Department approved nearly 300 concealed carry weapon permits last month alone — double the average for September. Which is why, Robinson says, it will be all hands on deck for Denver Public Safety on Election Day and in the days that follow.
“We want to make sure the story doesn’t become public safety. The story is the election.”
Robinson is convinced the election won’t be over in a day and has been planning for possible post-election unrest for months.
“I don’t believe there will be a result on Election Day. Our plan, our contingencies have been put in place to allow for the season to happen simultaneously without interruption.”
He also wants to make sure the election “season” doesn’t include the violent protests that have marked the last few months. His biggest worry is a disputed election which, combined with a pandemic and recession could create the perfect storm.
“I think that will ignite people to come out and not only protest, but also commit acts they wouldn’t otherwise commit. It’s because of the tension of COVID-19. It’s because of the tension of our economic status.”
In a first for an election, he is activating the city’s emergency operations center and public safety command post as well as working with federal law enforcement and both state parties.
“100% heightened awareness,” he said.
So far, he says, he knows of two planned protests with upwards of 2,000 people each.
“It’s the folks that aren’t coordinating with us that we have more concern over.”
While there have been reports of voter intimidation, Robinson says, most are unverified.
“I want people to understand it is safe to vote.”
He also wants people to know that the city will be safe, regardless of the election results.
“Every election there’s this feeling of ‘Oh, the sky is falling.’ The sky is still up there. It’s important for me to let folks know that they’re okay, that we’re okay, and it will be okay and moreover the City and County of Denver’s in good hands.”
Robinson says he is not only concerned about protests leading to violence, but the spread of COVID-19. He says he has warned protestors that officers have the authority to intervene if they are not wearing masks and social distancing. He is also warning everyone that Denver does not allow people to openly carry a firearm.