MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Top cops in South Florida tell CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that right now there are “no credible threats” to disrupt voting at the polls and cause civil unrest.
Karen Dietrich, the interim chief of Fort Lauderdale PD, said, “I can tell the public that in the city of Fort Lauderdale there is no threat going on right now. We have no credible threats. They can feel very comfortable coming to the polls and the police department here is protecting everyone’s right to vote. We are not going to allow any intimidation regardless of who you are voting for you should feel very safe.”
Dietrich took CBS4 inside the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s real-time crime center.
“We will be in close proximity of anything happening and ready to respond. This gives us a bird’s-eye view and we are able to respond quickly. We are also working with legal advisors on how to handle all situations properly,” Dietrich said. “We have been preparing for a while and we have been canceling vacations and leave time so we have everyone in uniform. We are also prepared for days of delays and we are working with the federal authorities as well.”
A police spokeswoman said all days off on Tuesday have been canceled.
Dietrich said, “Voters should be completely confident that we are going to protect voters and we are not going to all any intimidation of suppression of anyone’s vote regardless of how they vote. We also feel businesses are safe and there is no request for them to board up as we have seen in other cities. We also have things in place we cannot discuss.”
A spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office said while days off have not been canceled on Tuesday, “BSO is monitoring the elections throughout all jurisdictions.”
A spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department told D’Oench that the agency is closely monitoring and limiting non-emergency leave. It had not planned to cancel days off on Tuesday.
In Miami, Police Chief Jorge Colina delivered a video statement with some strong words.
“You might have seen in other states where there are armed militias. We don’t allow that here. It is illegal in Florida. If you see anything like that let us know. We don’t allow anyone to take advantage of your fear and your anxiety as relates to this election. So my ultimate message is that we are doing great. So far we don’t have any information to tell us that something bad is going to happen so go out and vote and we are going to do our best to do our job and make sure everyone is safe,” he said.
MORE FROM CBSMIAMI.COM
Kionne McGhee Sounds Alarm After Ballots Found Stacked At Mail Distribution Center
DEA Documents Reveal Elaborate Undercover Drug Sting That Nabbed Officers
Trump Wraps Up Whirlwind Weekend Of Campaigning At Late-Night Rally In Opa-Locka
He added, “We may not know the election results tomorrow. You should know they don’t start counting early voting until Election Day. This has been a record turnout and we anticipate tomorrow the trend is going to continue. So be patient and trust the electoral process. It is important that every vote count. So be patient and trust the process and if it takes a little longer that is OK. That should not cause any fear or anxiety. We want you to know that we are prepared for Election Day and we have a lot of officers working. We are thrilled with your level of cooperation at this point. It has been a record turnout and it is going smoothly. That is primarily due to your patience and how well you have gone out and conducted yourself as a community. I ask you to do the same tomorrow and exercise your right to vote.”
Another police chief said he had been on a Zoom call with other South Florida police chiefs and their intelligence showed there was no credible threat by outside agitators to disrupt the process of voting or cause civil unrest.
Miami Beach PD tweeted, “Ahead of Election Day, the Miami Beach Police Department is working closely with our local, state and federal partners. We will continue to monitor activity over the next few days and if the need arises, we are prepared to respond accordingly. Our number one priority is safety.”