Local police departments on guard in case protests escalate

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(WJHL)- Local police departments are trying to prepare in case any of the peaceful demonstrations happening around the Tri-Cities escalate into something more dangerous.

“Bad incidents like the ones that are happening across the country, they put us on edge, but they put us on our guard too,” said Captain Maynard Ratcliff of the Bristol Virginia Police Department.

Ratcliff said he was proud of the Bristol community for the peaceful protest held in town on Sunday. He said the department is trying to calm any fears of a protest turning dangerous.

“And let them know that we’re there, and we’re going to protect them and the people that are doing the protesting. We’ve got a duty to protect them too,” he said.

Captain Tim Davis with the Greeneville Police Department said they also support the public’s right to peacefully demonstrate. But Davis said concerned citizens have reached out to the department, worried about social media posts they’ve seen.

“Members of the community have reached out over the Facebook posts, social media posts, saying there’s going to be some protest going on here,” said Davis. “Worried that we may have that same kind of spark go off here, the non-peaceful rallies. And cause violence and vandalism, those kinds of things. That worries us.”

Davis said the department had extra officers working on Monday just in case.

“Our plan is to allow peaceful demonstrations to happen without any intervention by us. But we are prepared to intervene if it starts to turn other than peaceful,” he said.

Local officers call the death of George Floyd, and the violent events happening around the country, heartbreaking and disturbing.

“We hate to see some of the actions of one or several officers off somewhere else tarnish the reputation of all the police,” said Ratcliff.

“The vast majority of police officers are there to protect you,” said Davis.

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