WASHINGTON — As Washington braces for Inauguration Day, DC Police commanders are assuring neighbors that they, too, will have security even with attention on the Capitol.
The Citizens' Advisory Councils for the 1st and 5th District police stations hosted a joint community meeting Saturday to give neighbors a chance to ask their commanders' questions.
The big topic at hand — will neighborhoods be left to fend for themselves as focus turns to the Capitol? In short, First District Commander Morgan Kane said "no."
“What we’ve all been tasked with as district commanders by Chief Contee was to not only put our regular operational plan to run our district in effect but to create another operation plan to ensure that we have our personnel deployed in the community," Commander Kane said. "That we didn’t see a lapse in 911 calls for service, that you do see us. That we had methods in place to make sure we were paying attention to critical infrastructures that could possibly be targets in our districts.”
Commander Kane said DC Police has been on full department activation since the January 6 riot. She said officers have been on mandatory 12-hour shifts and were given one day off this past week to recharge for the coming week. After Thursday, she said no one will get a day off until after Inauguration Day.
That brings some comfort to DC resident Bridget Alzheimer.
“I’m more nervous than I was during the summer with the Black Lives Matter protests," Alzheimer said. "I never felt unsafe during that, and I definitely since what happened at the Capitol, feel a little more nervous."
Fifth district commander William Fitzgerald said one of his biggest concerns — especially based on where his district is situated — is with traffic thoroughfares throughout the city.
“Specifically New York Ave, Rhode Island Ave, getting people in and out of the city," Commander Fitzgerald said. "There is a plan in place if the metro does shut down to get people out. There’s a plan in place if something happens downtown, getting people out of the city … there’s a lot of contingencies."
Alzheimer is working on her own contingency plan.
“I have talked to my husband about packing some bags to get out if we need to," she said.
In the meantime, Commander Kane said they are also working to help officers recover from the riot. She said thankfully their bodies will be fine, but she's concerned about their mental and emotional health.
“There are officers that we have that have been to the battlefield. They have been to war," she said. "And they said they were not as scared in war as they were this day. This was a violent, dangerous, assaultive mob."
She said January 6 is a day none of them will forget.
“One of my officers told me that this must be, for our career this will be what 9/11 was for you all, you know a defining moment in your career," Commander Kane said.
As they continue to ramp up security leading up to Inauguration Day, police are asking everyone to keep their eyes out for suspicious activities or groups.
Commander Kane shared one example: With hotels and AirBnb's closing, she said people could potentially see groups parking in lots or garages and camping out in their vehicles overnight.
“I hope you all rest assured knowing that we are working diligently to get us and get the city through it," she told the group Saturday.
Assistant US Attorney Douglas Klein was also on the call. He said as their office continues to pursue the nearly 300 investigations into Capitol rioters, he has a request for DC residents.
Klein is asking community members to submit a community impact statement. He said the goal is to present a stack of these statements to judges at sentencing hearings as a way to fully illustrate the impact the insurrection had on the people who call DC home.
To send an impact statement, you can email Klein at email@example.com.