Inauguration security putting a lid on capital

| Thursday, January 13, 2005

Security is tightening up around the nation’s capital in preparation for the second inauguration of President George W. Bush Jan. 20.

While most of the security arrangements will not affect the majority of truck traffic, some of the measures could have an impact on truckers who drive or deliver within Washington, DC.

“We will have 24-7 surveillance of key inaugural facilities, as well as portable X-ray equipment to examine packages, as well as commercial vehicles and delivery trucks entering these areas,” Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said recently. “We anticipate there will be about 6,000 law-enforcement personnel here from dozens of federal, state and local agencies. We will utilize record numbers of canine bomb teams.”

However, Jonathan Cherry – a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, which is leading the security efforts for the Inauguration – said most road closings linked to the event are in the downtown area of Washington, DC, and should affect only those trucks that must pick up or deliver in that part of the city.

The Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department has a list of road closings in the area on its Web site at http://mpdc.dc.gov/news/news.asp?sid=3026.

Officer Quintin Peterson of the Metropolitan Police said that if trucks were able to avoid the DC area entirely, that would be the best course of action. Those truckers who remain outside the Beltway should not have to deal with security surrounding the event in any way, Peterson said.

If truckers must go inside the district – for example, to make a regular delivery or to deliver supplies related to the inaugural activities – “they have to have an invoice showing what they’re delivering, where they’re delivering it to just to show they have a legitimate reason for being within the controlled area,” Peterson said.

People who work in the restricted area are being allowed into the secure zone for regular work activities, he said.

– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
mark_reddig@landlinemag.com

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