Answers from Police Chief Lanier
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier was online Friday, Jan. 16 at 11 a.m. ET to take your questions about the security risks presented by the inauguration, how the city is preparing for the influx of visitors and what you need to know for a safe and hassle-free inauguration experience. Here are some excerpts from the discussion:
Washington, D.C.: Chief Lanier: I want to watch the swearing-in from one of the Jumbotrons on the mall. Do I have to go through the parade-watching entry points, even if I am not watching the parade? I plan to be walking, approaching from the north and will have to cross Penn. Ave. That's why I am concerned about getting caught in the parade security and count. Thank you.
Cathy Lanier: You can access the mall from the north WITHOUT passing through the parade route check points on the east via the Third Street Tunnel or on the west from 18th Street - 23rd Street and then go south.
Midtown, DC: Chief Lanier,
PLEASE clear up the confusion for everyone with actual tickets to see the parade. If I have tickets to the parade, do I have to get there as early as everyone who lines the parade route? Here's what a Post article on 1/13 said:
"But according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to comment, capacity is expected to be between 280,000 and 300,000. That number will include only those people standing on the sidewalks; it does not include the 5,000 people who have tickets to sit on bleachers along the parade route."
And here's what you are attributed as saying in the Post yesterday:
"And she had this warning for people who think that, because they have a ticket to the parade, they can show up later than anyone else. Once authorities determine that the crowd has reached capacity along the Pennsylvania Avenue route, no one will be admitted, regardless of whether they have a ticket. She gave no prediction for when that might happen but urged people to keep checking the Web sites."
Which is it???
Cathy Lanier: I cannot speak for the US Park Police, who is the lead agency for the parade route area, but I will say that based on our discussions with all of the agencies involved, we fully expect the parade route area to be filled by 10:00 or 11:00 AM. The US PP has said that once the parade route is full the check points will close and no one else will be permitted. This is the same for the Swearing in Ceremony at the Capitol. This is important so ticket holders do not come late thinking that they will be able to get in at any time.
Fairfax, Va.: It hasn't yet been made clear whether you may bring fold-up chairs to the Lincoln Memorial concert on Sunday afternoon. Will those be allowed past the security checkpoints? Thanks.
Cathy Lanier: The US Park Police said yesterday that you can bring folding chairs for the event on Sunday. Please continue to check the websites posted
Food and Med worries: I have diabetes. Will I be able to bring my syringe delivered insulin and snacks into the ticketed area?
Cathy Lanier: Yes. Please bundle up and stay safe. There will be medical tents along the mall throughout all of the events. Don't hesitate to use them if you need assistance.
Washington, DC: I live 2 blocks off of U Street in the Dupont/Adams Morgan area. I am really concerned about the security in the area, with the bars open all night and millions of people in town. There are regularly violent incidents on normal nights without these factors. What is the MPD doing to protect people in the neighborhoods during this event, especially at night?
Cathy Lanier: We will have extra police officers deployed throughout the city in all of the areas NOT associated with the Inaug. Events. We actually began our extended shifts today to add officers to those areas in advance. You should see plenty of police
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