Tips for Keeping the Peace This Inauguration Day

DC is essentially a fortress full of troops this week, so it seems pretty certain that there will not be a repeat of the mayhem of Jan. 6 during the inauguration. But in other cities, security is going to be your job.

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Wednesday around mid-day, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will stand before president-elect Joe Biden and swear him in as the 46th President of the United States. The peaceful transfer of power will be complete, and Biden—alongside VP Kamala Harris will take office and begin to govern.

In anticipation of this event—and due to the storming of the Capitol that took place on January 6—the National Guard has been called in to protect the proceedings and the people present.

There are more troops in the Capitol than there are in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

There are also miles and miles of chain-link fence topped with razor-wire.

I lived in DC for several years, proudly serving my country as an analyst for the State Department, toiling in a windowless basement office beneath the Department of Education building.

I'd eat lunch on those same Capitol steps that will be the site of tomorrow's ceremonies. I've seen the Queen of England pay a visit to the White House, as well as myriad other heads of state.

But I've never seen anything like the images of American soldiers sleeping on the floor of the Capitol, or the erection of barriers and deployment of "Jersey Walls" in advance of an event that should make every American proud—proof that while half of the population didn't vote for Biden, our Democratic Republic persists unabated.

In advance of the inauguration, DC is essentially a fortress full of troops, so it seems pretty certain that there will not be a repeat of the mayhem of last month. But in other cities, security is going to come down to the police—many agencies are understaffed and underfunded—but resolute nonetheless.

I use the word "resolute" with pointed intent. If you don't get the refrence, there's Google... or that crusty old LT who loves history books.

Creatiung Fututure History

A joint bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and eight other agencies released earlier this month warned of the possibility of possible violence and cautioning of crowd control issues in cities across the United States and that acts of violence and criminal activity "can take place with little or no warning."

Here are some thoughts for every law enforcement officer in America—from chiefs and command staff to officers working patrol—to ensure that communities and the people who inhabit them are safe and all officers go home to their families after their shift.

1. Head on a Swivel

Situational awareness is paramount at all times on patrol. Ambush attacks on officers in their squad cars have become—sadly, and maddeningly—all too common. The most visible representation of government at every level—from the Feds to the small-town cop—is the police. If something in your jurisdiction jumps off and goes sideways Wednesday, make sure you are not staring at your phone. Vigilance is victory waiting in the wings.

2. An Ounce of Prevention

You don't have the benefit of 20,000 National Guard troops occupying your City Hall building or patrolling your streets, but you do have a pretty good idea—from years of experience and diligent training—where in your jurisdiction something might happen. Maybe there have been riots in your city, or there are certain statues or monuments that have been defaced. Increase police presence where you most suspect the possibility for unrest. As the great Gordon Graham famously said, "If it's predictable it's preventable."

3. Be Well Rested

Unless you're working the overnight shift Tuesday, you will  probably be off duty overnight until the Wednesday morning briefing. Take time Tuesday night to get good sleep—maybe snuggle with your family for a bit—but hit the hay early and awake ready for just about anything to happen.

4. Check Your Gear

Be sure to take time to carefully inspect all your gear—your sidearm, your patrol rifle, your cuffs (and your second set of cuffs), your squad car, and anything else. Treat this enterprise like you would back when you were in the academy and your instructors resembled drill sergeants more than they did instructors when they examined every stitch of clothing on your sweaty and sore body. Make like a pilot and look for any possible weakness that could potentially bring the plane down.

5. Load the Trunk

Wednesday could be a long day—it may last into next week. Load the trunk of the squad with a flat of water bottles and a box of your favorite energy bars. If things get weird, the drive-through at the local fast food joint and the convenience store on the corner will probably not be an option. Ensure that you have ample supplies to be out there in the shit for some time, and food and water need to be forward-deployed.

Final Words

Anyone who knows me knows that I didn't vote for Joe Biden—I have no love for him whatsoever. And don't even get me started on the vice president.

However, I love the United States of America so much that tears well in my eyes as I write these final sentences.

Our country is the best on the planet, and our form of government is rivaled by none.

When the rule of law is threatened, it is you—my friends and family in law enforcement—who race into the fray to bring order where disorder is most terrifying.

You are the guardians.

You are heroes.

I wish you Godspeed Wednesday—and forever. 

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