In preparation for possible pro-Trump protests in Eugene in the coming days, Police Chief Chris Skinner briefed city councilors on plans during a Jan. 13 work session.
Skinner said the police department is in contact with the local Federal Bureau of Investigation about tips regarding extremist activity. He expressed concerned about federal and government buildings, but the department said the they're prepared.
“Unlike what we saw at the Capitol, which clearly the police were overwhelmed and underprepared it doesn’t take a person with 30 years of law enforcement to figure that out, we are in a posture of trying to be overly prepared to that so we can scale back when we need to,” Skinner said.
Skinner added the Proud Boys, deemed an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, are not welcome in Eugene though. The group was seen at a rally in Eugene on Jan. 9.
With recent developments indicating some off-duty police from around the country participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, Councilors Claire Syrett and Matt Keating asked if there were any EPD officers in at the insurrection.
Skinner said to he wasn't aware of anyone in the department who participated in the insurection but acknowledged that there are around 300 EPD members.
However, he did say any EPD members found to have been involved would be placed on administrative leave with the possibility of termination depending on the outcome of an investigation.
Asked by Councilor Greg Evans about how he prevents similar behaviour from happening here, and how officers are held accountable, Skinner said he’s the one to hold accountable.
“Regardless of a police officer’s political affiliation, or their personal opinion about what’s going on, that they are apolitical in that particular moment in time and they serve this community even handedly. And in the event that we have officers that are not doing that, then I’ve failed at doing my job.”
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