“We basically have a plan for everything”-- Green Bay Police Chief on election security

Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 5:35 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As voters make a plan to safely vote on Election Day, law enforcement officials are also making plans to make sure it’s a secure election.

Attorney General Josh Kaul and Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith want Tuesday’s election to feel like every other election. However, both said plans are already in place just in case something goes wrong at the polls.

“Obviously we don’t want to release our entire operational plan,” said Chief Smith.

Although Chief Smith can’t release all the details, he said his officers are ready to make sure election day is safe and secure for all voters.

“We are going to have officers in the vicinity of polls and officers in plain clothes going through parking lots to make sure everything is good there,” said Chief Smith. “We also have made direct contact with poll workers so if there’s a problem, they can contact us directly.”

AG Kaul said voter intimidation is a crime that will not be tolerated. He said anyone who commits those type of acts will be investigate and ‘ultimately spend time behind bars because it’s a felony in Wisconsin.’ He is encouraging all election officials to act if necessary.

“Election officials who are working at polling places are empowered to remove individuals from those polling places if they’re engaging in disruptive activity or interfering with the process,” said Kaul. “If people are observing it and they see something that concerns them, they can go contact an election official or they can contact an outside organization, but what they can’t do is try to take over the process that’s the role of the election officials who are working at the polling places.”

Kaul sent a ten-page document to all law enforcement agencies around the state to remind them of their duties on Election Day when it comes to voter intimidation and security.

“We received it from AG Kaul and incorporated into plan,” said Chief Smith.

Chief Smith said the department’s emergency operations center will be monitoring situations, not only throughout the city, but also the country.

“If we see any trends occurring somewhere else, we will be aware of that,” said Chief Smith.

AG Kaul said the state’s intelligence center will also be active.

“That center analyzes information and identifies potential threats to the safety and security of Wisconsinites, including any threats to our election and they share the information as appropriate with local, state, and federal law enforcement so there can be an appropriate response,” said AG Kaul.

“There’s no hard evidence of anyone targeting Green Bay or Brown County. We don’t know of any outside people coming here to try to slow down the vote or interfere with anything but we are prepared for it,” said Chief Smith.

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