Hundreds of local officers sent to Washington D.C. to help with inauguration security

Updated: Jan. 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office are sending resources to Washington, D.C. to help with security surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Monday morning 40 deputies left for the nation’s capital.

“Everybody’s on edge,” Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said Monday morning.

It’s not the first time deputies from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office were sent to the nation’s capital to protect our citizens on Inauguration Day. However, tensions are high, and security—even tighter than before.

“We have to be cautious,” said McFadden. “We are going into some dangerous times and dangerous areas, so you have to be cautious.”

Ninety officers with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and 40 county deputies are on the ground to help secure buildings and routes.

“I know that they’re going to look after each other and come home safe,” said McFadden.

The inauguration will be held on the same risers in the same spot at the U.S. Capitol where a violent, pro-Trump mob descended last week.

U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Plati is leading the inauguration security, and he says the two events aren’t comparable from a security standpoint.

The local Charlotte officers and deputies are joined by more than 350 National Guardsmen from North Carolina at the Capitol.

“National Guardsmen have been training to do these types of missions for since last year, since the RNC, and they’re positive, they’re the morale is high,” said Commander of the 105th Engineer Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Jim McVeigh.

After the deadly January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, U.S. defense officials tell CBS News that worries about an insider attack has now led to the vetting of troops heading to Washington—including those from North Carolina.

“We understand the heightened security concerns,” said McVeigh. “The soldiers understand that and they continue to serve and be proud of what what we do what we provide”

North Carolina troops’ role is to support the Washington D.C. metro police at six metro stations across the city to ensure pedestrians and citizens are safe and the metro sites are secure.

McVeigh’s guardsmen are armed.

“There are a lot of checkpoints and a lot of having security measures that are put in place just to safeguard that those people that are here, and so does this event can happen successfully,” said McVeigh.

CMPD will be assisting with activities related to the inauguration, but the department would not elaborate further.

The theme for the event will be “America United,” an issue that’s long been a central focus for Biden but one that’s taken on added weight following last Wednesday’s insurrection.

Biden himself hasn’t expressed concern about his own personal security at the inauguration.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this article. All rights reserved.