At more than 550 miles from Washington, D.C., downtown Fort Wayne looks vastly different from the nation's capitol as Inauguration Day nears.
In contrast to a chaotic 2020 summer, there is no line of police outside the Allen County Courthouse. There are no boarded-up windows.
Unlike on Capitol Hill, soldiers and barricades do not surround Citizens Square and businesses – many of them retailers and restaurants – remain open as the business of life continues in the heart of a city of about 260,000 Hoosiers.
The Fort Wayne Police Department is aware of the security concerns in Washington, D.C., and at the statehouse in Indianapolis and is monitoring the Fort Wayne area, spokeswoman Sofia Rosales-Scatena said last week.
“At this time we are monitoring our own area but do not believe there will be anything here in the city,” she said. “That doesn't mean we are not prepared or that we are not taking matters seriously.”
On Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the statehouse would close this week out of an abundance of caution over possible demonstrations. Holcomb has said there have been no credible threats against the Indiana Capitol, however. Early last week, the FBI also warned officials of the possibility of armed protests at state capitols nationwide.
If any downtown business owners are concerned over possible unrest over the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Michael Galbraith, president of the Downtown Improvement District, hasn't heard them.
In an email last week, Galbraith said although several downtown businesses kept the wooden boards used to cover their windows during last summer's Black Lives Matter protests, he hasn't heard of or seen any go back up.
Regardless, the FWPD is “preparing for any type of scenario,” Rosales-Scatena said.
If any demonstrations do occur, she added, police are hopeful participants remain peaceful.