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Kalispell police chief: Peaceful gatherings expected on Inauguration Day

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 18:00:46-05

KALISPELL — Protests are expected across the nation Wednesday as President-Elect Joe Biden is officially sworn into office.

MTN News talked to Kalispell Police Chief Doug Overman who says Montana law enforcement agencies are working together to ensure safety for all residents.

“We’ve had conversations about how we would respond if something did occur, we have no information at this point that that’s going to happen,” Chief Overman said.

Chief Overman told MTN News has been working closely with law enforcement agencies across the state gathering information on any threats of possible violence or destruction on Inauguration Day.

Chief Overman says the police department is expecting peaceful gatherings in Kalispell based on information gathered. He added that KPD will have extra police on standby if needed.

“We do have crews that are available to us should the need arise. I’ve also spoke with my other partners here throughout the valley in law enforcement and we’re prepared to support each other, again we have no information that anything is going to happen at this point,” Chief Overman said.

Love Lives Here in the Flathead Valley community organizer Cherilyn DeVries and Chief Overman are asking protesters to peacefully exercise their First Amendment right and to avoid confrontation with someone with opposing views.

“Just be aware all the places where you’ve usually seen people do protesting there may be a few people there, at this point, it does not seem to be widespread, but we don’t know,” DeVries said.

“Just recognize each person’s individual rights to that viewpoint, keep your space, make your point, but don’t necessarily try to force or push your viewpoint on someone else, express your first amendment rights but respect other's rights to do the same,” Chief Overman commented.

Chief Overman is asking residents to contact the Kalispell Police Department if you hear any possible threats of violence or destruction to the community.

Whitefish Police told MTN News that they're not aware of any protests or gatherings planned in downtown Whitefish.