Ensuring safety on Election Day in Arizona

How business owners, law enforcement are taking action
Scottsdale looting
Posted at 9:19 PM, Nov 02, 2020

On Election eve in Arizona, the 2020 vote count has already surpassed all of 2016. That means, history will be made on Tuesday with record voter turnout - no matter who wins the election.

Arizona is now one of the key battleground states in the race for the White House, so security is top of mind. The state has seen in recent months how passion can lead to destruction or how people can take advantage of certain situations.

Wells Fargo in downtown Phoenix made the decision to board up their windows and doors ahead of the election.

But some Scottsdale businesses, who were impacted back in May, feel cautiously optimistic. "We got hit hard," said Bill Crawford. "We got blindsided. It caught everybody by surprise."

Crawford is the owner of Basic Training MedX Fitness and Strength Training Center near Camelback and Miller Roads in Scottsdale.

He allowed ABC15 Arizona into his studio, after a temperature check and with masks on, to see where he has been working with clients for more than 20 years.

Crawford explained, he was one of the lucky ones back in May. He said he got a heads-up from other business owners about what was happening and noticed some things on social media.

"We exercised our 2nd Amendment rights and we stood in front of our businesses with firearms at the ready," Crawford said. "That means pointed down... not at people."

He now said, he is feeling a lot better going into Tuesday.

"I've heard that the Governor has the National Guard on alert, and they are ready to respond to any kind of threat," Crawford said. "I've heard that our local police department has done the same thing."

ABC15 Arizona asked the Scottsdale Police Department for an on-camera interview. They were unavailable.

However, Sgt. Brian Reynolds wrote, in part, in an email: "... we are prepared to respond as needed to any protests or demonstrations of civil unrest throughout election week, regardless of the election results. Citizens are encouraged to peacefully exercise their Constitutional rights and should conduct themselves accordingly. Rioting, property damage, assaultive behavior, disorderly conduct, etc. will be met with arrests, either immediately or through follow-up investigation. Respect the election process and the fact that everyone has the right to their individual opinion, even if it isn’t yours. We will be adequately staffed to address any/all issues, be they routine or emergency in nature."

"That is one of our responsibilities... not only to ensure the safety and... safety and security of community members, but to protect that 1st Amendment right," said Sgt. Maggie Cox with the Phoenix Police Department.

The department posted guidelines on their website to try and support safe public demonstrations. View those here.

"Anything that's going to make it unsafe for the large... a large gathering of people and it's a criminal activity, then that's the point that... law enforcement would need to take some sort of action," said Sgt. Cox.

At this point, Phoenix police said there are no specific threats or concerns. However, they do ask the public to say something if they see something while out voting or exercising their 1st amendment rights.

Stay with ABC15 Arizona for continuous election coverage.