Lo­cals at­tend pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

DEN­TON — Caro­line County res­i­dents at­tended the pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion fes­tiv­i­ties on Fri­day, Jan. 20, along with the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice who signed up for se­cu­rity de­tails.

Denise Love­lady, vice chair­man of the Tal­bot GOP at­tended the swear­ing in

and the Free­dom Ball with her hus­band David and her other “date,” Rob Wil­loughby of Federalsburg.”

It was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence to share (with ev­ery­one) what we did to help elect Pres­i­dent Trump,” Love­lady said. Al­though she and her group ar­rived at 6:30 a.m. for the noon cer­e­mony, she said “the time flew by.”

Love­lady, who is the Mid-Shore com­mu­nity li­ai­son for Con­gress­man Andy Har­ris, said that more than 2,000 calls for in­au­gu­ra­tion tick­ets poured into Har­ris’s of­fice, which had just over 200 to give away.

Rob Wil­loughby, who is as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal of North Caro­line High School and a for­mer his­tory and gov­ern­ment teacher at Colonel Richard­son High School, said that “wit­ness­ing his­tor y and the peace­ful trans­fer of power puts me in awe.”

A John Ka­sich sup­porter dur­ing the pri­mary, Wil­loughby was philo­soph­i­cal about watch­ing some­one else take the oath of of­fice. He said he en­joyed the op­por­tu­nity to “stand around and talk to peo­ple from all over the coun­try and get­ting their feed­back. I met a cou­ple from Wis­con­sin and folks from Long Is­land. I asked, ‘What are your feel­ings? When did you be­gin to sup­port (Don­ald Trump), What did it for you?’”

Wil­loughby, who has served on the Caro­line County Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, at­tended the evening ball and said, “The en­ter­tain­ment was great, but the in­au­gu­ra­tion was the cen­ter of the day.”

An­thony and Amy Casey of Ridgely drove over just to stand on the Na­tional Mall and wit­ness his­tory be­ing made. Casey, pres­i­dent of the Ridgely town com­mis­sion, said he and his wife were able to “get pretty close up” at their lo­ca­tion near Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue and 3rd Street SW.

“We thought that this was a his­tor­i­cal mo­ment,” Casey said. “It didn’t mat­ter who was be­ing sworn in. It’s been a part of Amer­i­can his­tor y since Ge­orge Washington was sworn in, so to get to go was pretty ex­cit­ing.”

Water­man voiced sim­i­lar thoughts. She named each pres­i­dent and first lady who walked onto the dais out of the U.S. Capi­tol, and said that “the peace­ful trans­fer of power” rep­re­sented by the for­mer first fam­i­lies’ pres­ence “was was a tes­ta­ment to how great our coun­try is.”

“The ac­tual in­au­gu­ra­tion was like be­ing at a rock con­cert,” Casey said. “It was full of pos­i­tive en­ergy with ever yone wait­ing for this mo­ment to hap­pen. For Trump sup­port­ers, there was a lot of cheer­ing, clap­ping, high-fives. Peo­ple were ready to move for­ward af­ter the elec­tion.”

The Caseys left the city af­ter the noon cer­e­mony, anx­ious to get home in­stead of stay­ing for the pa­rade that was sched­uled to be­gin four hours later.

Also at­tend­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion were lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cers who were re­cruited, trained and dep­u­tized to help fed­eral and District of Columbia law en­force­ment of­fi­cers han­dle se­cu­rity dur­ing the day’s events.

The Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice sent five deputies to help more than 100 fed­eral and city law en­force­ment and se­cu­rity agen­cies. The Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice sent over 11 mem­bers from its Mar­itime Tac­ti­cal Op­er­a­tions Group. The Eas­ton Po­lice Depart­ment dis­patched 11 of­fi­cers.

“We were truly hon­ored to be able to send a team,” said Caro­line County Sher­iff Randy Bounds. “We’re glad they were safe, un­like some other of­fi­cers who were in­jured.”

In fact, the Caro­line County team was put on standby dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral pa­rade as an un­ruly group of protesters got within two blocks of their post, said Lt. Ron Dixon, who was part of the se­cu­rity re­in­force­ment de­tail.

Casey said he was glad his tod­dler had stayed with fam­ily back home. “I didn’t want to bring him into that mess,” he said. “A bunch of signs had pro­fan­ity on them that I don’t be­lieve a fam­ily should have to see.”

The Caseys, who took the metro into the city, had to walk about 10 blocks from the 13th Street metro stop to their des­ig­nated spot on the Na­tional Mall. “Ev­ery let­tered street had protesters on it.” Casey said. “A lot of protesters blocked gates to stop ticket hold­ers tr ying to get in.”

“You felt pro­tected in­side the gate,” Casey said. “I didn’t feel like we were in dan­ger, but in a big city you’re not at ease. With a big event like that, you never know. You want to keep on your toes.”

“The few protesters we saw were just stand­ing with signs or yelling at (us),” Love­lady said. “It didn’t bother me be­cause I was caught in the mo­ment. I just thought, ‘More power to you.’”

If he were teach­ing gov­ern­ment now, “when ev­ery is­sue is po­lar­iz­ing,” Wil­loughby said he would try con­vey­ing “how to have your opin­ions and con­vic­tions, but be able to com­mu­ni­cate them in­tel­li­gently and re­spect­fully.”

Be­fore be­gin­ning their crowd con­trol duty, the Caro­line County deputies ar­rived in Washington, D.C., on Wed­nes­day and made a point of vis­it­ing the Na­tional Law En­force­ment Of­fi­cers Memo­rial at Ju­di­ciary Square, which is en­graved with the names of po­lice of­fi­cers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“It was one of the most mean­ing­ful parts of the whole trip,” Dixon said.

The next day Dixon said he and his team joined “about 3,200 of our clos­est law en­force­ment friends from across the coun­try” for about seven hours of train­ing at the D.C. Army Na­tional Guard Ar­mory.

The Caro­line deputies’ ini­tial post was on Con­sti­tu­tion Av­enue be­tween 6th and 7th streets. On Fri­day at 2:30 a.m., they be­gan their 17-hour day and left their Bethesda ho­tel with the 30-of­fi­cer team they were at­tached to from the Cleve­land (Ohio) Po­lice Depart­ment. Ar­riv­ing at the Na­tional Mall near the Lin­coln Memo­rial, they were met by their Metropoli­tan Po­lice Depart­ment li­ai­son.

From their vantage point, the Caro­line of­fi­cers could hear and see some of the in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony on the Jum­botrons. But once they moved over to Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue for the pa­rade, their eyes were fo­cused on the crowd in front of them.

Dur­ing their train­ing the day be­fore, of­fi­cers work­ing the pa­rade de­tail were “in­structed not to look at the pres­i­dent as he (went) by,” Capt. James Hen­ning said. “Our job was solely to make sure there was no dan­ger to the pres­i­dent and (his per­son­nel). None of us got to see the pres­i­dent al­though he was 10 feet be­hind us.”

For both Dixon and Hen­ning, their first in­au­gu­ra­tion duty was mem­o­rable, and they hope their fel­low deputies will have their chance in four years.

“For me, with 23 years on the job, it’s a once-in-a-ca­reer high­light. I’ll take with me for the rest of my life,” Dixon said. “We were on duty for 17 hours, and, other than hav­ing sore feet, it went by al­most like in a blink.”

“It was eye-open­ing to see the pas­sion peo­ple had whether you were for or against the pres­i­dent,” Hen­ning said. “You see peo­ple from all around the na­tion. Peo­ple in our sec­tion (of the pa­rade route) were of­fer­ing us food or wa­ter. They were very kind and very sup­port­ive (of law en­force­ment).”

What stood out for Dixon was “to see that many law en­force­ment of­fi­cers out all at one time,” he said. “We had the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act with all the agen­cies — of­fi­cers from Seat­tle, Mi­ami, the Florida High­way Pa­trol, Rhode Is­land — and the op­por­tu­nity to be to­gether with them in the same mis­sion. I was in awe.”

“I learned that there is not any­thing that can’t be done if you put your mind to it,” Dixon said. “I think about what we have to do here lo­cally, and it pales in com­par­i­son to what the (metro po­lice) do. If there was ever a time it wasn’t or­ga­nized, we didn’t see it.”

“You watch it on TV, but you don’t ac­tu­ally re­al­ize what goes on be­hind the scenes,” Hen­ning said. “Be­ing a part of some­thing like this is some­thing (our team) will al­ways re­mem­ber.”

The deputies’ long day wound down with din­ner and shar­ing “stories and laughs” with their Cleve­land col­leagues back at the ho­tel.

Love­lady, who was re­cruited by the Trump cam­paign a year ago, said that to be able “to come to­gether and be part of his­tory (was) in­cred­i­ble. I hope that peo­ple will give the pres­i­dent a chance. He’s do­ing what he said he was go­ing to do, so I truly hope he’s go­ing to be the pres­i­dent for all peo­ple.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Five mem­bers of the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice pro­vided se­cu­rity for the Jan. 20 in­au­gu­ra­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Stand­ing on Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue on Thurs­day, Jan. 19 are, from left, Capt. James Hen­ning, Sgt. Kevin Nagyiski, Sgt. Nancy Nagel, Lt. Ron­ald Dixon and Cpl. Bryan Peris.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

Caro­line County sher­iff’s deputy Sgt. Kevin Nagyiski in­ter­acts with pa­rade at­ten­dees on Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue be­fore the in­au­gu­ral pa­rade.

Diana Water­man, left, at the Liberty and Free­dom in­au­gu­ral ball with Rob Wil­loughby (Caro­line) and Mary Burke Rus­sell (St. Mary’s).

Caro­line County sher­iff’s deputies who helped pro­vide se­cu­rity for the 58th pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion could pur­chase a com­mem­o­ra­tive badge.

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