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Law enforcement in the “Two Virginias” prepare for armed protest

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(WVVA)- "In this line of work we always have to be prepared, because you never know what's around the corner or never know what somebody may be planning," Brian Hieatt, Sheriff of the Tazewell County said.

The planned protests at county courthouses impacts every sheriff's office in the Two Virginias. They're the agencies charged with the protection and defense of their county's courthouse. Sheriff Brian Hieatt and others saw what happened in the nation's capitol last week and they say they're ready in-case civil unrest erupts in their jurisdictions.

According to Hieatt, he along with his team members will be watching the Tazewell County Courthouse closely in coordination with other law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested.

"We coordinate things with our town police department, the Virginia State Police, and in the past we've coordinated and worked on plans for any type of protest or anything that could come up to make sure that everything is done safely," Hieatt said.

In Greenbrier County, they too are taking precautions to put plans into action if unrest unfolds.

"We currently have security at the courthouse everyday of the week. We have armed security that monitor access of individuals coming into the courthouse. Of course no one can come into the courthouse armed unless their a law enforcement officer. We also have cameras for our security personal to monitor the interior and exterior of the courthouse," Sheriff Bruce Sloan said.

Sheriff Hieatt and Sloan say they're ready to deal with what may come.

"People need to rest assure that when we work together with other law enforcement agencies that there are plans in place. When we've had things in the past there have been a lot of law enforcement officers that you don't see that aren't walking down the middle of the street. But we're there, we're waiting and we have a plan if something was to become dangerous," Hieatt said.

"Between our department, and the Lewisburg Police Department, the courthouse is located within the city limits of Lewisburg and the state police office is just a short distance from the courthouse so we will have adequate personal to address any issues that we might encounter," Sloan said.

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