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Governor and Charlottesville Announce State of Emergency Plans

Gov. Ralph Northam and the city of Charlottesville recently declared a state of emergency in advance of the one-year anniversary of last summer’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

According to news reports, Northam’s declaration includes an allocation of $2 million to pay for the public safety response. The declaration will also free state resources and personnel, including the Virginia National Guard.

Specifically, the Virginia state of emergency ordered by Northam will allow state agencies to quickly mobilize resources to aid local authorities, the governor’s office said. The order, which also allows Virginia National Guard to assist in security efforts, was announced at an Aug. 8 news conference in Charlottesville where city officials announced the city’s efforts to prepare for the anniversary of the Aug. 12 rally.

Law enforcement officials said Charlottesville residents should expect a heavy police presence, road closures, and parking restrictions this weekend.

Northam said in a recent news release. “Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they are needed.”

According to news reports, numerous groups and counterprotesters have planned rallies this weekend to mark the anniversary in Virginia and downtown D.C.

Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney, who was hired after the first rally, said the city has learned from its mistakes.

“There were gaps identified in how we may plan and how we communicate with each other,” Brackney said at the recent news conference. “I am confident to say that with all of our partners those gaps have been filled and backfilled as well.”

Gary Settle, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said his agency has also spent months preparing for the anniversary.

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“Nothing would excite us any better than (for) this to be non-eventful and folks to go home and it be a peaceful weekend for all,” he said.

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