Capitol Police Step Up Security Ahead of Inauguration

January 15, 2021 by Dan McCue
Members of the National Guard walk past the Dome of the Capitol Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Capitol Police have significantly ratcheted up security throughout the Capitol Complex ahead of next week’s presidential inaugural ceremony.

Measures include installing unscalable eight-foot tall fencing and the closing of several area roads.

The department is also coordinating protection and response capabilities with more than 20,000 members of the National Guard and law enforcement partners from throughout the Capitol Region, said Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman.

In a statement released Thursday, the police said the measures would remain in place “until further notice.”

The Capitol Complex has been closed to the public since Tuesday, and the Capitol grounds will be off limits to the public on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

Anyone attempting to unlawfully gain access to the Capitol grounds by climbing a fence or any other unlawful means will be subject to an appropriate use of force and arrest, the police advise.

Street Closures

Street closures in effect until further notice include:

  • Independence Avenue between Washington Avenue, SW, and Second Street, SE.
  • Constitution Avenue between First Street, NW, and Second Street, NE
  • East Capitol Street between First and Second Streets
  • Massachusetts Avenue between Second Street and Louisiana Avenue, NE
  • Louisiana Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue, NE, and Constitution Avenue, NW
  • D Street between Louisiana and New Jersey Avenues, NW
  • New Jersey Avenue between D Street and Louisiana Avenue, NW
  • C Street between First Street and Louisiana Avenue, NW
  • First Street between C Street and Louisiana Avenue, NW
  • Constitution Avenue between Second Street, NW, and Second Street, NE
  • Third Street between Constitution Avenue, NW, and Independence Avenue, SW
  • I-395 Exit at Second and C Streets, SW
  • Independence Avenue between Third Street, SW, and Second Street, SE
  • Independence Avenue between Third Street, SW, and Second Street, SE
  • Washington Avenue between Independence Avenue and D Street, SW
  • Second Street between C Street, SE, and Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Since the attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, the FBI has warned that armed protests to the end of his presidency are being planned in all 50 state capitals as well as in Washington.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked people not to come into the city for the inauguration, and at her request, a National Special Security Event declaration was moved up to from the planned Jan. 19 to Jan. 13.

The declaration was the first step in the ramping up of security that has been so much in evidence the past several days.

The National Special Security Event status is normal for a presidential inauguration and other major events like an international summit or the Super Bowl. But it’s rare to start the lockdown so far in advance of the event.

The city has announced that starting Friday, all parking garages in the downtown restricted zone will be sealed through the inauguration. In addition, all 13 Metro stations inside the security perimeter will be shut down for the next several days.

The closed Metro stations are:

  • Farragut North
  • Judiciary Square
  • Union Station
  • Archives
  • Arlington Cemetery
  •  Farragut Wes McPherson Square
  • Federal Center SW
  • Capitol South
  • Smithsonian
  • Federal Triangle
  •  Metro Center
  • Gallery Place

“We are working closely with our regional and federal partners to keep the public safe during this National Special Security Event and to discourage travel within the secure zone,” said General Manager of  the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Paul J. Wiedefeld. “While we are supporting law enforcement plans to enhance security, we are also keeping essential services in place for our residents who need to get to work, to medical appointments, and to grocery stores.”

In addition, 26 bus routes will be detoured around the expanded security perimeter Friday through Thursday. Metrobus will operate normal service on weekdays and weekends to accommodate customers making trips outside the zone, with the exception of January 20, when buses will operate on a Saturday schedule.

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