Major General Lee Tafanelli, the state’s adjutant general, replied to some social media posts saying that the National Guard was contemplating martial law, quarantine enforcement or other draconian measures, according to the Topeka Capitol Journal.
“There’s all kinds of social media saying the National Guard is taking over, they’re on the streets, they’re going to do this or that,” Tafanelli said.
Tafanelli said all of the claims are outside the “realm of possibility.”
Tafanelli said that they are actually spending their time treating this as they would a tornado, flood or other disaster, by working to relieve pressure on local communities, which could range anywhere from delivering medical supplies to hospitals all over the state, as well as collecting and delivering test samples.
Tananelli said that currently the Kansas National Guard has 18 members on active duty, but about 6,500 could come in to serve, although he thinks the number would be much lower.
Tafanelli said that some of the members provide critical resources to the state, such as law enforcement officers and medical professionals, and that it would not be beneficial to pull them away from those duties.
Addressing the claims of the National Guard “taking over”, Tafanelli said it is unlikely that Governor Kelly would call upon them to police the streets.
“We would provide support to law enforcement on the administrative side so they can free up more of their officers to deal with those situations,” Tafanelli said.
Tafanellie urged citizens to follow the recommendations of social distancing and sheltering at home.
“We’re going to get through this,” Tafanelli said, “but the way we get through this the quickest and get back to a normal day-to-day life is if we all can cooperate, if we all make sure we do those things we can do individually to make sure we’re not contributing to the spread of the disease.”