INDIANA — The Indiana National Guard is preparing to activate more than 600 of its members to help support civil authorities for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden in Washington, D.C.
A spokesperson confirmed Thursday that 620 of the state’s roughly 13,000 Guard members will travel to the nation’s Capitol, although a timeline was not given for when they are to deploy.
“The Hoosier Guardsmen will help protect the sanctity of the democratic process and help ensure the peaceful transition of authority,” a statement from the Guard said. “As citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen, Guardsmen are uniquely qualified to support civilian authorities and train regularly with civilian agencies. These service members will be on 502(f) active-duty orders.”
Indiana National Guard members are also on standby to protect the state, if needed, and have the resources to support the inauguration while maintaining “uninterrupted support of COVID missions,” the statement said.
The activation comes amid concerns of more violence across the U.S. like what was seen Jan. 6 when protesters in support of President Donald Trump — who has for months claimed his presidential loss to Biden was unfair and illegitimate — stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was set to confirm the Electoral College votes.
Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer who was beaten by protesters and a protester who was shot by police while trying to enter. Another protester was trampled and two others died from a heart attack or stroke. A Capitol Police officer later died by suicide. Authorities continue to investigate the event and charges have been filed against some protesters.
Earlier this week, the FBI issued a warning about potential additional violence at all 50 state capitols in the days surrounding the inauguration. On Monday, Trump issued an emergency declaration through Jan. 24 for the U.S. Capitol, The Associated Press reported. This allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the federal Emergency Management Authority to work with local authorities on security.