By Donald Wittkowski
On Jan. 20, officers from the Ocean City Police Department will protect their chief – the Commander in Chief.
Fourteen local officers will participate in a historic event by providing security during the Washington, D.C., parade up Pennsylvania Avenue for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Ocean City Police Capt. Jay Prettyman said the officers will help out with crowd control and traffic direction for the parade route.
“They certainly will enjoy going down there to be part of the inauguration, which is a historic event,” Prettyman said. “They’re going to do everything that they’re asked.”
The officers will leave for Washington on Jan. 18 and are scheduled to receive special training the following day at the National Guard Armory to prepare them for their duties on Jan. 20. Prettyman said they are scheduled to report for duty at 4 a.m. on inauguration day and will work between 16 and 18 hours helping out with the parade. They will return to Ocean City on Jan. 21.
This will be the third time that the Ocean City Police Department has been part of the security for a president’s inaugural parade. The department also participated in the 2009 and 2013 parades when President Barack Obama took the oath of office.
Starting in 2009, Ocean City’s former Police Chief Bob Bevin established ties with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, which led to an invitation to help provide security for both of Obama’s inaugural parades, Prettyman said.
The Metropolitan Police Department contacted Prettyman to enlist Ocean City’s help for Trump’s inauguration. Prettyman said he also recruited officers from the police departments in Somers Point, Wildwood and Middle Township for the parade.
The Metropolitan Police Department will pay all of the travel, hotel and meal expenses for Ocean City’s officers, as well as their salaries.
“We have no out-of-pocket expenses for the event,” Prettyman said.
With so many of the officers heading down to Washington for the parade, there will be some rescheduling of the shifts for the remaining police force to ensure enough manpower to protect Ocean City, Prettyman noted.
“We can do it comfortably without sacrificing service to our town,” he said.
Officers were selected at random for the inauguration duties after they put their names on a sign-up sheet. Preference was given to officers who had not participated in an inauguration before in order to “try to spread the wealth,” Prettyman said.