State troopers have been monitoring the Capitol in full force this week, ready for any scenario that arises.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is suffering from budget cuts of its own, so pulling troopers from around the state is causing a strain on their normal daily operations. But the agency’s focus right now is patrolling the Capitol crowd.
With no confirmed reports of vandalism or violence all week, state troopers say they are slightly surprised at how peaceful tens of thousands of people can be. Most of the calls they have responded to have been medical episodes. There have also been four lost children which they say were all found quickly.
They are prepared for anything, though.
Captain Paul Timmons said, “We have people in place that are able to monitor the crowd. Whenever they see any type of activity that looks out of place, we try to get people there as quickly as possible to make sure that nothing is going on that shouldn’t be going on.”
Timmons said the minor disturbances they have seen are being caused by a few outside agitators. “We didn’t feel like we’d have any problems with the teachers involved in this,” he says. “We understand what their message is and what they’re trying to accomplish.”
The longer the walkout lasts and receives national media coverage, however, troopers expect to see more unrelated demonstrators flocking from other states.
To combat the rumors about violence and crime at the Capitol, troopers advise you to follow their official social media pages for up to date reports throughout the day.
Timmons said, “The information that comes from the Highway Patrol social media platforms is the most accurate information that we have available to us.”