OLYMPIA, Wash. — The heightened security at the Washington State Capitol is expected to scale back over the next few days after threats of armed protests of President Joe Biden's inauguration failed to materialize.
"We will be able to see a gradual drawdown over the next few days," if everything remains calm, said Chris Loftis, communications director for the Washington State Patrol.
The increased security has cost the state $1.5 million over the past 13 days. That's not including what it cost to activate 750 members of the Washington National Guard to help troopers secure the state Capitol.
The FBI warned officials at all 50 state capitols to be prepared for potential unrest on Inauguration Day following a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that disrupted the certification of Biden's victory.
That same day, supporters of President Donald Trump broke through the gate at Gov. Jay Inslee's executive residence.
The extra security cost the Washington State Patrol a total of $1,019,151 in overtime, in addition to the $488,299 for regular time on the clock.
An additional $100,707 has been spent on items such as food, supplies, equipment and lodging, Loftis said.
Security also erected fences at the Capitol around the statehouse and the legislative buildings in preparation for the start of the legislative session.
"We feel the presence you have seen has contributed to peace and calm for the last 13 days," Loftis said.
Even before the elevated security measures, the Capitol campus was largely closed to the general public because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Hearings and public testimony during the legislative session are taking place remotely, through phones and video conferences. That will continue even if security is scaled down.
Loftis said officials felt the events of Jan. 6 were "page-turning events" that will require a new view on security in Olympia from now on.
How much value do you put on that?
"I can only answer that with how much money would we as a country be willing to spend to go back to Jan. 6 and take the assault on our nation's Capitol out of the history books?" Loftis said.