BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston is ramping up it's police presence around the city on Tuesday for Election Day.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said there will be officers at the polls which is standard for presidential elections, but officers are also prepared for potential civil unrest. However, Gross added that voters will not see an "overwhelming presence" of officers.
"We don’t want anyone to say that they’re being intimidated by police presence in this city or across our great Commonwealth,” he said.
Gross said that keeping voters safe on election day is a group effort between local law enforcement and federal agencies.
“So if you have any hesitation or reservation about trouble being out there, just know, this whole Commonwealth of law enforcement—state, local and federal, will be working together as well as the [District Attorney] and the U.S. Attorney and FBI,” he said.
The Office of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced a plan on Monday aimed at protecting the rights of voters on Election Day.
The plan includes a "Suffolk Voter Hotline" at 617-619-HELP (4357), where staff can answer questions about voting rights and election access in multiple languages.
The team also has Civilian Investigators who can gather information about potential criminal offenses, to be referred to the Assistant District Attorney. The hotline is open on Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., one hour after the polls close in the state.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also signed an executive order on Monday activating 1,000 Massachusetts National Guard members for added security and large scale events related to the results of the election.
“The goal here is to basically be supportive of local communities,” Baker said. “We’ve heard from a number of our colleagues in local government who asked us to make the guard available, if need be, later in the week.”
Police Commissioner Gross said the department anticipates that this year's election will be "one of the most contentious" in most recent times. He added that along with stationing officers at polling locations, they are also prepared to handle any violence or civil unrest in other areas of the city.
“We want everyone to know that we also have coverage for the neighborhoods," Gross said. "Places of worship, schools, hospitals...you will see us out there.”
In addition to law enforcement agencies, local businesses are also preparing for the aftermath of the results, as stores and locations along Newbury Street and Washington Street in Downtown Crossing boarded up their windows over the weekend as a precautionary measure.
All polling places will be open by 7 a.m. in Massachusetts on Tuesday, closing at 8 p.m.
WBZ NewsRadio's Matt Shearer (@MattWBZ) reports.