Protecting the Inauguration Requires the Nation’s Cities to Come Together

January 20, 2017 - (3 min read)

An inauguration requires an incredible amount of law enforcement officers to keep spectators and protesters safe. Such a feat is only accomplished with the help of local police officers from around the country.

US Marshals Feature.png
On Thursday afternoon, more than 3,000 local and state police officers from around the country were sworn in at the D.C. Armory as temporary U.S. deputy marshals to protect the inauguration and parade route. (NLC photo / Brian Egan)

Thousands of Americans convene in Washington every four years to witness and celebrate the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next. As Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Committee on Inaugural Activities, noted in his opening remarks at the inauguration this morning, up until America’s second inauguration there had been “many [leaders in history] who had gain control of a government, but few who had peacefully given it up.”

The entire inaugural process showcases and features and Americans from cities all around the country: high school marching bands, church choirs and local leaders. But what is often not covered by the media is the number of city police forces that have come together to help keep Washington, D.C. safe during today’s events.

Twenty-eight thousand federal and non-federal law enforcement officers have been deployed to protect inaugural spectators and protesters over the long weekend. Although this ceremonial transfer of power is a truly Washington experience, more than 3,000 of these officers are wearing the uniforms of local and state police forces from around the country.

Director of the U.S. Marshals Service administered the oath yesterday afternoon. (NLC photo / Brian Egan)

Every four years, thousands of local police officers from cities are invited to protect the incoming president’s parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue. Officials expected 700,000 to 900,000 people to attend the president’s inauguration, which places a tremendous need for additional law enforcement officers from outside of Washington.

Yesterday, visiting officers convened for a morning of security briefings and a unique ceremony — their swearing in as temporary U.S. Deputy Marshals. On the day before each inauguration, the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service swears in the 3,000 plus visiting officers. NLC headed to the D.C. Armory to watch the ceremony.

Officers from Minneapolis to Miami were in attendance to take the oath.

US Marshals Bowser.png
Muriel Bowser opened the ceremony on Thursday by thanking the more than 3,0000 officers in town this weekend. (NLC photo / Brian Egan)

“The world will see just how much American law enforcement regards and protects this ceremony of a peaceful presidential transition,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C at the opening of the ceremony.

The mayor’s gratitude and thanks to the officers in town were echoed in closing remarks by Peter Newsham, the interim chief of police for Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, “my closing remarks are the same as the mayor’s opening, thank you for your service.”

While today may be about the peaceful transfer of power, it is important to recognize the city police and staff that keep it peaceful.

brian-headshotAbout the author: Brian Egan is the Public Affairs Associate for NLC. Follow him on Twitter @BeegleME