Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland on Wednesday issued the following statement regarding rumors of protesters traveling to the city:
We have been receiving reports from concerned citizens about people traveling to Effingham to commit crimes and riot.
I would like to report that no credible threat or information has been found that would indicate that our community is in any danger. I would like to explain what steps our department is doing to ensure the safety of our community.
We talk with police chiefs and sheriffs from surrounding areas on a daily basis to determine what is or has occurred in their communities. This allows us to quickly sort fact from misinformation when we receive reports of alleged incidents occurring elsewhere.
We are participating in sharing intelligence in real time with the help of STIC or Statewide Terrorism Information Center. This allows departments all around the state to immediately and securely report what is happening to them and what information they gather.
This gives us the “big picture” of what is happening statewide and at a local level. We are also working with FBI officials who have been designated to share information involving this part of the state.
If credible information does become available, we will take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of our community; this also includes informing the public and providing guidance.
We will continue to investigate all reports that we receive. Our agency has a planned response should any incidents occur.
Please feel free to contact the Effingham Police Department to report any suspicious behavior or if you have any information.
Please remember that peaceful protests or demonstrations are protected by the Constitution of the United States and are supported by our agency.