OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Out of an abundance of caution, Gov. Kevin Stitt says he is activating over 75 members of the Oklahoma National Guard for upcoming protests.
Officials say the National Guard members will assist local law enforcement officers should any protests at the Oklahoma State Capitol, or other locations, turn violent.
“I support the right for Oklahomans to peacefully demonstrate, but we will not tolerate violence or damage to property,” said Gov. Stitt. “At the request of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the National Guard has been authorized to provide support as needed. These hardworking Oklahomans are our friends and neighbors who step up in times of need. Any violence and damage to property goes against the Oklahoma Standard and is a distraction designed to keep us from uniting together.”
Members of the guard will be activated from Saturday, Jan. 16 to Thursday, Jan. 21.
Officials say that although no specific, credible threats have been identified in Oklahoma, increased safety measures are being taken in response to intelligence shared by federal officials.
“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma National Guard have trained together to be prepared for the type of events that may be happening over the next week,” said DPS Commissioner John Scully. “Cooperation with our partners is essential and we appreciate the collaboration within the law enforcement and military community. Our goal is to protect peaceful demonstrators while also protecting lives and preventing the destruction of property.”
The Oklahoma National Guard’s Reaction Force usually helps Oklahomans following natural disasters, but they also support law enforcement.
Most recently, they were deployed to Tulsa to help law enforcement when President Trump held a campaign event in June.
“Oklahoma’s NGRF is comprised of men and women from our communities. Their job is to protect their fellow Oklahomans, support the right to peaceful demonstration and prevent loss of life and property,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, the adjutant general for Oklahoma.