CLOSINGS: View Closings

Homeland Security establishes task force to protect monuments, memorials and statues

The Department of Homeland Security announced a new task force Wednesday centered on protecting "American monuments, memorials and statues.""DHS is an...

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 11:33 AM

The Department of Homeland Security announced a new task force Wednesday centered on protecting "American monuments, memorials and statues."

"DHS is answering the President's call to use our law enforcement personnel across the country to protect our historic landmarks," said Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, in a news release.

The Protecting American Communities Task Force will coordinate the DHS response, which may include assessing any potential unrest or deploying personnel, according to the press release. DHS will also partner with the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to share information, according to the release.

"As we approach the July 4th holiday, I have directed the deployment and pre-positioning of Rapid Deployment Teams across the country to respond to potential threats to facilities and property," Wolf said. "While the Department respects every American's right to protest peacefully, violence and civil unrest will not be tolerated."

Earlier this week, Wolf said the effort was being coordinated by DHS component agencies including, the Federal Protective Service, US Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration.

As of Monday, ICE had not deployed its personnel but was prepared to support the department should they need assistance, according to an ICE official.

Law enforcement personnel from DHS, including ICE and CBP, were recently deployed across the US to respond to unrest stemming from protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order on protecting monuments, which directed DHS to provide personnel to assist with the protection of federal monuments, memorials, statues, or property.

"I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence," the President wrote Friday. "Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!"

The order also tells the attorney general to "prioritize within the Department of Justice the investigation and prosecution" of those who damage government-owned monuments, citing federal law that "authorizes a penalty of up to 10 years' imprisonment for the willful injury of Federal property."

CNN reported that the executive order came as part of an effort to protect national monuments that Trump has previously described as part of the country's heritage. Trump personally instructed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to restore the only Confederate statue in Washington, DC, after it was torn down last week, two people familiar with the matter told CNN.

On June 19, he tweeted, "The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 490134

Reported Deaths: 33396
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens756987289
Kings739357376
Bronx547064983
Nassau489412204
Suffolk483082019
Westchester397891460
New York353453191
Rockland17524683
Richmond168921093
Orange13303505
Erie12650713
Monroe6917300
Dutchess5382163
Onondaga5170207
Albany3488136
Broome316683
Oneida2625128
Ulster243695
Niagara1997101
Putnam176863
Sullivan170948
Schenectady152250
Chemung14563
Saratoga124417
Rensselaer105842
Steuben91557
Chautauqua85813
Columbia66338
Ontario61735
Oswego6064
Tompkins5790
Madison54517
Tioga50230
Greene48718
Cortland4750
Warren44433
Cattaraugus4426
Wayne4005
Orleans37854
Herkimer37610
St. Lawrence3764
Otsego3745
Genesee3735
Fulton36024
Chenango3477
Cayuga3422
Washington32614
Livingston2618
Montgomery2594
Allegany2431
Clinton2245
Essex1950
Jefferson1940
Wyoming1745
Delaware1647
Seneca1353
Schuyler1090
Yates1027
Schoharie1010
Franklin790
Lewis640
Hamilton160
Unassigned023
Utica
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 66°
Oneonta
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Herkimer
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 66°
Thendara
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
VOTE OCTOBER 22-30
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left