Just 500,000 people are expected to attend inauguration – roughly a third of the number of people who crammed into the capitol four years ago – but President Obama will be getting some serious security this Monday as he gets publicly sworn into office for a second time.
The Secret Service has issued advisories relating to the upcoming 57th Presidential Inauguration, and they include massive traffic reroutes, restricted movement, and increased air traffic restrictions on general aviation in and around downtown Washington, D.C.
See the release here. Public entry points to the parade route open at 6:30 AM and will remain open only until maximum capacity has been reached. Access to the parade route can be found at the following locations:
- 2nd Street NW and C Street NW
All persons entering the Parade Route will be subject to a security screening by various security and law enforcement agencies. A complete list of restricted items can be found at the above link.
Six thousand National Guard troops are ready to provide additional security and have been deputized by the Metropolitan Police Department, and will be assisting with traffic and crowd control; they will have powers of arrest and detainment. Concrete barriers have been erected to maintain control over visitor flow and prevent access to secured areas. Coast Guard vessels will patrol the Potomac, looking for anything out of place. The Metropolitan Police Department’s 4,000 officers will be joined by 3,000 from around the country and an undisclosed number of federal agents from the DHS, FBI, and ATF.
Those preparations are meant to be a visual deterrent, but security will also be invisible. CBS notes that at Union Station, two men indistinguishable from normal commuters were actually DHS Behavioral Detection Officers trained to look for suspicious behavior among individuals in the crowd.
“We're talking about the security of the president of the United States. So there is a balance there but we're not going to lower security under any circumstances,” commented DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
Heritage Foundation security analyst Jessica Zuckerman said that guards are “mainly watching for anything unusual. It is the same principle of if you see something say something. They are going to be looking for anything that indicates something is not quite right and there might be a potential threat.”
A single command post has been established at an undisclosed location outside the city limits, where officials say they are prepared to coordinate response to any foreseeable disaster – from the disruption of the ceremonies by a single person, to an attack by multiple armed individuals or with weapons of mass destruction.