- Hawaii Health Department head killed in plane crash
- Colorado school drops sexual harassment label on boy who kissed girl’s hand
- Australia court strikes down 5-day-old, gay-marriage law
- Fake interpreter at Mandela service: ‘Sorry,’ I have schizophrenia
- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Creator of ‘Selfies at Funerals’ blog retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
Security plans developing for smaller inauguration
Question of the Day
President Obama's second inauguration is expected to draw less than half the number of visitors who descended on the Mall for his historic oath-taking in 2009, the top D.C. security official said Thursday.
While predicting crowds for Inauguration Day is "imprecise," the city is planning for 600,000 to 800,000 visitors at the high-profile event on Jan. 21 — well shy of the roughly 1.8 million who attended Mr. Obama's welcome to the White House in January 2009, said Chris T. Geldart, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
Mr. Geldart laid out the figures in assuring a D.C. Council committee that local and federal officials are working together to iron out logistics and security strategies ahead of the big day.
"There's not a specific threat that's been articulated to this point," Mr. Geldart said after the hearing, with the caveat there are "always folks that want to do harm."
Mr. Obama will be sworn in at a private ceremony on the appointed date of Jan. 20, which this year falls on a Sunday. His public swearing at the 57th Presidential Inauguration will occur at noon the next day, before a 2 p.m. parade from the Capitol to the White House.
While officials of all stripes have gathered steering committees to plan for the event, this year's rendition is not expected to draw the shoulder-to-shoulder hordes that turned out four years ago to see the nation's first black president place his hand on the Bible and raise his right hand. Based on early hotel reservations and other signals, it appears the bulk of inauguration attendees will come in from neighboring Maryland and Virginia instead of far-flung parts of the country, according to Mr. Geldart.
Officials have been coordinating their plans for months, and the construction of reviewing stands at the White House and in front of city hall began in mid-November.
"There wasn't anything particularly dramatic here and that's exactly the way it should be," D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat, said after the hearing. "They're doing their planning and they're foreseeing all kinds of possible things that could go wrong."
Every four years, the inauguration is a tightly orchestrated event for city and federal security agencies alike. More than 3,000 law enforcement officers, including about 2,000 brought in from other cities and states, are expected to be on hand to secure the event, according to Mr. Geldart's preliminary figures.
"It's a partnership," Mr. Geldart said, referring to the dual hierarchy of command. "From the federal perspective, the Secret Service is in charge. From the District perspective, the chief of police is in charge of security."
Leaning on lessons from 2009, Mr. Geldart said he does not want any pedestrians to walk through the Third Street Tunnel to get to the other side of the crowded Mall, an unsafe situation that also caused some ticket holders holding purple passes to miss many of the festivities.
"Suffice it to say, I made the request to the Secret Service to disband the color purple altogether for tickets," he said.
Mr. Geldart also said he would like to see more signs around the Mall so out-of-towners can find their way around.
Metro will open its rail service at 4 a.m. and close at 2 a.m., including rush-hour service until 9 p.m. at peak fares. The Smithsonian and Archives-Navy Memorial stations will be closed at the request of the Secret Service because both sites are close to the event's secure staging area and parade route.
Mr. Mendelson said Metro should find a way to keep motorists moving along at parking garages outside its suburban stations. Last time around, cars backed up as payments were processed at the gate.
On a lighter note, Metro is offering an Inauguration Day keepsake — a $15 commemorative SmarTrip card that is loaded with a one-day pass for unlimited rail travel and features Mr. Obama smiling in front of the American flag.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls for review of Obamacare rollout woes
- More than a quarter million sign up for Obamacare in November
- Harry Reid, David Vitter spar over Obamacare 'exemptions'
- Oregonians likely to rely on paper Obamacare enrollment into January
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- DIVEST! Oil is the new apartheid on college campuses
- Colorado school drops sexual harassment label on boy who kissed girl's hand
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow