Jan. 6 attackers “don’t value the freedom of this country.”
So far all has been quiet at the Wisconsin State Capitol, but Dane County officials, including County Executive Joe Parisi, told WKOW-TV’s Capital City Sunday that they are “prepared for anything that might occur.”
“When we look at what happened in Washington [DC] and what could happen as a result of that at state capitols, we’re very concerned,” Parisi said. “We hope that folks don’t show up and that armed people don’t show up, but we’re ready if they do.”
Since the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, law enforcement officials have warned of potential future attacks at state capitols across the country. Last week, there was an increased Capitol Police presence at the statehouse and first-levels windows were boarded up.
In addition to Gov. Evers deploying the Wisconsin National Guard to help protect the US Capitol during this week’s inauguration events, troops stood guard at the statehouse in Madison, equipped with riot gear, armed vehicles, and barriers to block unwanted vehicles.
Dane County Emergency Management Director Charlie Tubbs said the Jan. 6 insurgency, “took me back to 9/11 when our country was attacked.”
“It was a very devastating and very humbling experience that should never happen in the United States of America,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs said the incident has forced his department to, “plan for the worst situation, the extreme situation, and pray for the best.”
Tubbs and Parisi also have first-hand experience with another incident that was compared by many Wisconsin Republicans to the Jan. 6 attack: the protests in 2011 over legislation removing public employee collective bargaining rights that later became known as Act 10. Parisi was a member of the Assembly at the time and Tubbs was the Chief of Capitol Police. Tubbs said the two events, “did not compare.”
“During Act 10 we had citizens come to the capitol and they were very sensitive to the issue of what was taking place, but they were very cooperative,” Tubbs said. “They worked with our department. I met with them daily. We set out rules of engagement, of what would be allowed and what would not be allowed.”
Tubbs also said he found reports that law enforcement officers were being identified as participants in the Jan. 6 attack “extremely disappointing.”
“They’ve lost their sense of way in my opinion,” Tubbs said. “They don’t value human life. They don’t value the freedoms of this country.”
Wisconsin police officers, firefighters, and EMTs also participated in the Act 10 protests but again Tubbs said the two events had nothing in common.
“They were professional, respectful and carried out their constitutional right to protest what was going on here,” Tubbs said. “None of them acted unprofessional like we’ve seen here on Jan. 6.”