KENOSHA, Wis. - Political leaders from Kenosha to Madison are trying to prepare for whatever reactions come from the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. The governor ordered roughly 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops to be ready on standby, and police departments are watching the trial.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Kenosha Police Department say they understand the anxiety surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. They say at this time, they have no reason to close roads, enact a curfew or ask for changes to daily routines.
"We’ll get through this as a community because we have a responsibility to our children, we have a responsibility to the community and ultimately, we have a responsibility to ourselves," said Kenny Harper, Kenosha business owner.
Governor Evers authorized roughly 500 National Guard troops seen standing by Tuesday, Nov. 16 in Waukesha County, waiting for Kenosha police to ask for help.
Milwaukee is also watching and waiting.
"Obviously, we've been monitoring the trial in Kenosha," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "The police department has been monitoring the trial. Our police department is prepared. There are no plans right now to call in the National Guard tonight. I don't foresee them right now, but again, I've been in contact with the police chief. In fact, I talked to him just 20 minutes ago, so we're monitoring this and we hope that whatever happens, it would be peaceful."
The Milwaukee Police Department said: "Every incident, including any planning for potential unrest, must be reviewed in a case-by-case manner. The Milwaukee Police Department is constantly reviewing our past practices, as well as other jurisdictions’ best practices, to improve our services. MPD’s main priority remains partnering with the community and our law enforcement stakeholders to ensure public safety in the city of Milwaukee."
Wisconsin’s attorney general has urged peace.
"The city of Kenosha has been through an enormous amount in the last year, and it's critical that the follow up to this verdict be, you know, people speaking out peacefully and not engaged in any acts of violence or destruction," said Josh Kaul.
In summer 2020, buildings and businesses were set on fire. The Kenosha fire chief says that unrest helped them with procedures and operations. When deliberations end, the department will ensure the safety of citizens.
Harper said it’s time for healing.
"We’ve been through enough in this community," said Harper. "It’s time to rebuild. It’s time to grow. It’s time to just show the world that we are a resilient community, and we care. We are together regardless of our differences."
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said they can’t talk about strategic plans but they do have assets in place in case things do not remain peaceful.