MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Nearly 100 South Florida police officers are gearing up to join the massive security effort in the nation’s capital ahead of next week’s presidential inauguration.
Fifty Miami Beach Police officers will be heading to Washington, D.C. to assist in the already extensive security setup for Wednesday’s inaugural events.
“We’re in close communication with the local agencies up there, as well as the federal agencies who are coordinating this inauguration,” said Miami Beach Police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said this is not the first time the department has assisted with security at presidential inaugurations.
“This is an event that we’ve participated in for at least the past five inaugurations,” he said.
But with the recent riots, officials said, this trip is definitely different.
“Not only do we have COVID, but we’re on the heels of the violence that we saw at the Capitol last week,” said Rodriguez.
Miami-Dade Police will also be sending reinforcements. Forty-five officers will be heading up this weekend.
“These are veteran officers. They know exactly what they need to do,” said MDPD detective Alvaro Zabaleta. “We’ve been there for the past 16 years, pretty much every one, and again, it’s just a great honor.”
Collectively, both local departments have been to at least 21 different inaugurations. Officials said their teams are ready to handle whatever they may face.
“Anytime we travel, we travel with all of our equipment, and that equipment, of course, includes gas masks and the gas filters,” said Zabaleta, “so you need all of your equipment in order to be able to perform your job.”
City of Miami Police will not be sending officers this year, not because of the recent riots, but because of COVID concerns.
The law enforcement agency made the decision months ago because they didn’t know what the state of the pandemic would be like now and how that would impact the department.
As for what’s being done locally during the inauguration, agencies throughout South Florida are working to monitor any possible suspicious activity.
“We’ve got 3,500 cameras all over the county and monitoring it anytime a hot call goes out,” said Zabaleta.
Officials are also keeping a close eye online to make sure they’re ahead of anyone looking to stir up trouble.
“Technology keeps evolving, and so do we,” said Zabaleta, “and we need to embrace that technology, because we know that delinquents are utilizing that technology to victimize our residents, but we need to use the technology to protect our residents.”
As of Thursday night, no Broward County police departments will be sending officers to D.C.
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