Charleston County law enforcement preparing for potential election night unrest

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County law enforcement agencies are working together to plan in the event of any potential protests or riots on election day in the county to ensure things remain calm and voters are safe.

Officials say they don’t want a repeat of the May 30th riots, a night that is still fresh on the minds of many across the Lowcountry. Law enforcement agencies across the county have been meeting and planning accordingly in the event of protests or riots when election results start filtering in.

City of Charleston leaders say many have been asking for a plan prompting leaders to take action.

“Numerous inquiries as what to expect coming up with our election next week,” says Charleston City Councilman Peter Shahid. “I think this is something that people are concerned about.”

Law enforcement agencies from across Charleston County are preparing for all possibilities during the days and hours surrounding election day.

“We are all working together, we’re communicating every day about information that may be received,” says Chief of Police for the City of Charleston Luther Reynolds.

Coordination of the agencies from top down starts with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office who is heading up the action plan but Chief Reynolds says an action plan is being communicated to all local municipalities.

“I participated in a call with the mayor’s office, with the mayor and the board of elections,” says Reynolds. “The sheriff’s office has an action plan for the county.”

The action plan includes all hands on deck, with the agencies stepping up man power and being on alert in the event law enforcement is needed.

“And throughout the election, the day before, the night of, the day of and the days following, we have a staffing plan where we have modified people’s days off,” says Reynolds.

Across the board, agencies are reviewing all relevant information while looking for potential plans or threats.

“So, there’s a lot of conversation and there’s a lot of preparation and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about that and I think it’s important to let our communities know that we’re paying close attention,” says Reynolds.

For the agencies, the ultimate goal is to make sure election day goes off without a hitch.

“We do want to make sure that our community is safe, we do want to make sure that we balance our interests with the folks who have an absolute right to free speech and assembly,” says Shahid.

Charleston county officials say they are working with regional partners and plan for staff to work overtime much of next week. Officials say regional partners plan to utilize the county’s emergency management center on election day.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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