D.C. Police, National Guard to Step Up Inauguration Security Detail
D.C. residents will start noticing a stepped-up police presence for inaugural events on Jan. 16, when the city’s cops will go to 12-hour shifts, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. She added that more than 10,000 National Guard members will be assisting with security.
“Are we going to be safe? I feel very, very confident that we are,” she said at a briefing on inaugural security for hundreds of business people in the District.
Lanier said she expected 1 million to 2 million people to flock to Washington on the day of the inauguration. That’s significantly less than the 3 million to 5 million estimate floated early on by D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. But officials lately have scaled back such large projections. Officials said today they expect between 220,000 and 300,000 on the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue. On the Mall, for the swearing in, officials have increased the number of Jumbotrons from 10 to 22.
Lanier also said the department has counted more than 300 unofficial inaugural events planned in the region. And D.C. bars, restaurants and nightclubs will be allowed to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.-- two hours later than usual -- and stay open around the clock for food service from Jan. 17-20.
Special Agent Andrew G. McCabe, of the counter-terrorism division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told the audience that the bureau had detected “no credible or specific threats” to the inauguration.
But he urged businesses to double-check their security plans in the wake of the November terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. He noted the terrorists had clearly surveilled their targets in advance to find vulnerabilities. More than 170 people were killed when the gunmen attacked two luxury hotels, a train station, a Jewish cultural center and other sites.
“Take a look at your information security. Be very careful about floor plan information,” he said.
He and Lanier encouraged businesses noticing anything strange to report the information to authorities.
By Mary Beth Sheridan
David A Nakamura
January 8, 2009; 10:59 AM ET
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