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Local law enforcement officials say they are preparing for tensions on election day 2020.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Chief Chuck Lovell addressed reporters in Waterfront Park near the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge on Thursday, saying that law enforcement will be ready for election day.Law enforcement officials are urging people to keep protests in Portland peaceful on election night.

"If you're going to take to the streets to make your voice heard, let people know how you feel, put it on signs, put it in chants, demonstrate in marches. But please do so safely," said Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. "For those who incite violence or harm, my office stands prepared to hold you accountable."

Schmidt joined with Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

"We realize there may be mass gatherings or marches or things of that nature, and we're supportive of that." Lovell said. "But what we want to ask that people don't engage in criminal activity or harmful behavior."

Around the country, including in Portland, organizers are planning protests for election day. Though they are currently slated to be peaceful, some have said they expect they won't stay that way.

The gathering of law enforcement on Thursday, Oct. 29, showed solidarity among them, although differences showed, too.

Whereas Portland police are forbidden from using tear gas on protesters and also from cooperating with federal police, the Oregon State Police don't fall under those restrictions. Davie said her agency cooperates with the federal government frequently, and also reserves the right to use tear gas if called for.

Reese said there is no specific safety threat that he knows of.

Schmidt, who has drawn criticism from some for dropping prosecutions against some people arrested at protests, said he will stand with law enforcement on election night.

"We have and will continue to collaboratively work with the Portland Police, the sheriff and the Oregon State Police to make sure that people who are committing assaults, property damage and looting are identified and ultimately arrested and prosecuted," he said.


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