Police in Watseka are taking precautions Sunday night due to civil unrest in communities both north and south of the city.
Watseka Police Chief Jeremy Douglas said, “We got some information, obviously with what is going on up north and all around us, so as precaution we just wanted to try to be prepared for the worst case scenario." He said there was not a specific threat and emphasized the measures are precautionary.
“We thought it was imperative to get a hold of some of our local establishments and businesses that are open,” he said, noting that the looked at all businesses but kept a priority on businesses that have a high probability of being looted and vandalized.
One of those was Walmart, where Douglas said they talked to management there about closing early.
“They were on board with the safety of their patrons and their employees to voluntarily close and take precautions to keep everybody safe,” he said.
“Unfortunately, with all that is going on around us, we just don’t want to be reactive, we want to try to be proactive as we can, not only for this one particular business but all the businesses and citizens in town.”
Douglas said they have been in contact with the sheriff’s department and fire department and everyone is working to make the community safe.
This comes on the heels of protesting in Champaign and Kankakee counties. The Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement earlier today asking people to stay home this evening due to reports of civil unrest in the Kankakee area. That temporary shelter in place recommendation has since been lifted.
Police were also called to the Market Place Mall in Champaign this afternoon after the protests there turned dangerous, with doors being broken on some stores at the mall.
About 8 p.m. Sunday night the Watseka Police Department and the Iroquois County Sheriffs Department sent a message asking that residents stay home tonight as a precautionary measure.