The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) sent 48 officers to Washington, D.C., at the request of the DC Metro Police Department and other federal partners for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20.
In the fall, KCPD was one of a few departments contacted and requested to help with the ceremony, Public Information Officer (PIO) Sgt. Jake Becchina said.
“Our officers will be participating along the route similar to providing security for other parade events,” Becchina said. “All participating officers were deputized by the US Marshall’s service with a temporary deputization to allow their participation.”
KCPD Public Relations (PR) Specialist Sarah Boyd also attended at the request and sponsorship of the Major City Chiefs Association.
“She is one of only 4 PIO/PR specialists from across the country helping DC Metro with public information, as well as chronicling the work of police across the country helping with the ceremony,” Becchina said.
Boyd provided updates through the KCPD twitter account, @kcpolice, throughout the day.
KCPD Captain Joey Roberts from Metro Patrol Division didn’t find out until last minute that he would be going. It was his first visit to Washington, D.C., and he called it an excellent opportunity to be able to attend.
“We had no idea what to expect when we got there,” Roberts said.
“Basically, they had us starting the parade route. We were there to secure the route itself.”
Roberts explained that law enforcement officers from agencies all over the country lined up along the parade route on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
“It was quite an honor to be invited for Kansas City, first of all,” Roberts said. “To my knowledge, in the 24 years I’ve been on, Kansas City’s never been invited to assist with the inauguration, so having that honor I think was a big deal.”
He thinks what the department has dealt with over the past few years and Kansas City getting more national recognition in general played into them securing an invitation.
Officer Gilbert Carter, who was one of three officers selected from the East Patrol Division, explained that one officer was chosen from each of the three shifts at each of the six patrol divisions.
“We didn’t go because of a certain party to take part in this,” Carter said. “We were asked in advance who wanted to go and we were all picked before the president was elected, and it doesn’t matter to me which president was picked because I work for and serve the people and our community to uphold the laws that are set out for people to follow.”
He said it was important to him to represent the department on a national stage, likening it to going to the Superbowl for them. The officers were in D.C. for four days, and took one day to see as much as they could, although due to COVID-19 and the inauguration, many places were closed.
“All government-run sights were closed, such as all the incredible museums, so there were limited attractions that were seen,” Carter said.
“Most of us didn’t know this but they apparently shut down the D.C. area for the inauguration. Tourists and the general public were scarce. [The] majority of the people I saw were either military, national guard, or other police officers from around the nation.”
Roberts agreed that it didn’t matter who was being inaugurated, and it is an opportunity he would most definitely take again.
“I feel like Kansas City represented well and the feedback that I got from the DC officers was that we made an impression,” Roberts said. “I would say there’s a high likelihood that we’ll be invited back next time.”