How the Secret Service Prepares for the Presidential Inauguration

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Image via EdLedford.com

The United States Secret Service is in charge of organizing the protection for the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20. The 45th president, a host of dignitaries and hundreds of thousands of members of the public will be protected in a complicated inter-agency event. Planning for this  inauguration began in June 2016, a spokesperson for the Secret Service told Baltimore’s WJZ News.

Complicating the work are the 99 or more organizations who have announced plans to stage protests during the multi-day series of events, Fox New reports. Thousands of personnel from various agencies will be mobilized for security duties, and to liaise with dozens of other agencies and organizations impacted by the inaugural events.

Road and bridge closures, along with parking restrictions, require the work of three police agencies –  the District of Columbia police, the Park police and the Capitol police. Restrictions carry over into Virginia and Maryland, involving state and local police agencies in those areas. The Metro Transit Police Department enforce rail and bus restrictions. Private security is also required for places such as the National Cathedral and RFK Stadium.

Threats from the Sky

After an incident in Seattle where a parade watcher was injured by a drone that crashed, the Secret Service has been on alert for the threat of drones. The agency is working with the FAA and the National Park Service to institute a No Drone zone. While airspace in the capital region is routinely restricted and heavily controlled, the additional ban is in effect to prevent the launch of small drones and UAVs.

The newly sworn in President and Vice President will be making appearances at a variety of venues in the evening. Working with private security, the Secret Service’s Critical Systems Protection division will be monitor and secure digital identification and entry systems at these events.

An estimated 800,000 spectators are expected for the swearing-in ceremony and parade. The FBI will have its local SWAT team and an increased number of field agents. To prevent vehicle attacks, large sand trucks and dump trucks will be placed to block access to the parade route and the crowds.

The D.C. National Guard, built around a military police unit, will be mobilized. “Joint Task Force-District of Columbia (JTF-DC) provides National Guard support to local civilian authorities. More than 7,500 ciziten-Soldiers and Airmen from about 40 states will provide traffic control, crowd management, and logistical support during the 58th Presidential Inauguration.”

Checkpoints will open at 6 a.m. With travel and parking restrictions and road closures, January 20 may be a good day for people who work in the District to stay home. The day is already designated a federal holiday, meaning DC’s government employees can count on a three-day weekend – and avoid the hoopla, if they choose.

Charles Simmins brings thirty years of accounting and management experience to his coverage of the news. An upstate New Yorker, he is a freelance journalist, former volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is owned by a wife and four cats.

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