By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City police officers who assisted with security for the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris called the experience incredible, memorable and the highest honor they could hope for.
A dozen officers from the department were selected by Police Chief Jay Prettyman to go down to Washington, D.C., for the historic event Wednesday.
One of the officers went in his capacity as a member of the National Guard.
They arrived Monday, were trained, deputized and sent on their assignment, which was near the White House, where they were to protect the motorcade holding President Biden and Vice President Harris.
The Ocean City officers who attended the event were as follows:
Lt. Pat Randles, Sgt. Pat Walsh, Sgt. John Vogt, Ptl. Jeff Doto, Ptl. Mike Hinsley, Ptl. Karl Ruf, Ptl. Tim Sharpe, Ptl. Jim Crowley, Ptl. Neal Cullen, Ptl. Randy Clark, Ptl. Brian Madison and Ptl. Jacob Harris, who was assigned duties as a member of the National Guard.
“I have never been a part of anything to that magnitude,” Patrolman Hinsley said. “They shut down the city so our area, our whole job, was to make a barrier. Our job was to help protect the motorcade from anyone getting in and obstructing the motorcade.”
He added, “We were stationed right around the corner from the White House. “When the president and vice president drove by, we saluted them. The whole thing just blew me away. It was just a great experience.”
The Ocean City Police Department has participated in the last four presidential inaugurations.
The day began early. At 4 a.m., Ocean City police officers headed to the lobby of their hotel and by 5 a.m. they were stationed at their assigned posts.
“We stayed at our post until the parade was over at 5 p.m.,” Hinsley noted. “It was a long but awesome day. I can’t believe how many people I got to meet. It was a huge day for the country and a lot of fun to meet everyone.”
The Metropolitan Police Department rode at least 50 motorcycles in formation in front of the protected cars holding the president and vice president. Secret Service and the Maryland Police Department also served as part of the large motorcade.
Hinsley, 33, added that he was also in awe of the parade of marching bands from the University of Delaware, Howard University, a Color Guard and mounted police officers.
“It was really impressive. I can’t think of a bigger event. It was really awesome. I will never forget it,” he said. “I hope I get selected for it again. It was honestly the best experience in my career so far.”
Patrolman Jim Crowley, 33, like his friend and fellow officer, Hinsley, called the detail the biggest and most important duty of his law enforcement career.
“It is just an incredible thing. All I can say is it was surreal. I felt so small. Here I am, down in the nation’s capital, and I am assisting with security for the motorcade,” Crowley said.
He continued, “Here we are, with law enforcement throughout the country, protecting the number one thing we want to protect – our country. We were right near Constitution Avenue and we saw the president and vice president go by and we saluted them.”
He hopes to be able to attend another inauguration as a member of the Ocean City Police Department.
“I was extremely honored, and in years to come, no matter who is in office, and no matter what is happening, it will always be an experience that I will never forget,” Crowley said. “It was the highest honor of my career. Take politics out of it. This is why I got into law enforcement.”