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Gov. Jared Polis responds to state lawmaker's call for federal agents in Denver

Posted at 11:27 PM, Jul 23, 2020

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis responded to a state lawmaker's call for President Donald Trump to intervene to stop violence in Colorado.

"The state of Colorado has not requested troops for any purpose, if we need them, I won't hesitate," Polis said.

Rep. Dave Williams serves House District 15 in Colorado Springs. He posted to Twitter Thursday a copy of his letter to Trump to expand what is called "Operation Legend," a Justice Department program launched earlier this month to some cities to "fight the sudden surge of violent crime."

Rep. Williams said violence is largely being ignored, and that Polis has allowed criminals to vandalize, deface, and destroy the Capitol grounds.

"At the very least I hope this lights a fire under the Governor to change course and actually restore law and order and public safety," Williams said.

He specifically pointed to dueling rallies last weekend in Denver, where a pro-police rally clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.

"When you saw people who were assembling peacefully, to support law enforcement and then they were silenced," said Williams.

Polis pointed to the reaction against those troops in other cities and said they have not improved the situation.

"Look in the areas where they have sent troops, it obviously was like throwing oil on a flame, it clearly makes the situation worse, it has escalated. In Colorado we want to de-escalate," he said.

The governor said he has activated the Colorado National Guard and would turn to their resources before bringing in troops that are not under his command.

Earlier this week Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said federal forces were sent to Portland, Oregon, to protect federal property in the wake of violent protests.

Trump ordered additional officers to Chicago and to Albuquerque Wednesday to quell violence and try to reduce crime in those cities.