There will be more police officers on Arlington’s streets on Inauguration Day and the days leading up to it.
Some officers will be easily spotted, said acting police chief Charles “Andy” Penn. Others, not so much.
“There will definitely be an increased police presence throughout Arlington,” Penn said in an interview with ARLnow. “Some visible, some not visible.”
ACPD “will deploy increased police resources,” but there are “no known threats to Arlington County as this time,” the department noted in a press release Thursday.
The current focus is on the public safety and protection of Arlington residents, Penn says. He didn’t comment on whether ACPD has received any mutual aid requests from D.C. police or the federal government as of yet, but did say the police department hasn’t agreed to anything.
“At this point, we’ve not committed to any mutual aid requests outside of… the Commonwealth,” he said.
Prior to the U.S. Capitol riots, ACPD did receive and agree to mutual aid requests from D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Arlington police officers were seen defending the U.S. Capitol from pro-Trump rioters and insurrectionists in a video from Jan 6. They helped to replace “hurt and tired D.C. officers on the front lines,” according to a new Washington Post account of the chaos.
As previously reported, no ACPD officers were seriously injured and Penn confirmed that this remains the case.
Penn says that the department had a “significant number” of officers assisting MPD over three days last week, but none are deployed in D.C. currently.
Two U.S. Capitol Police officers and one Anne Arundel County officer are currently under investigation for alleged actions during the insurrection. Penn says no such investigations are taking place in regards to Arlington officers.
“I am not aware of any allegation that any members of this agency were involved in any unlawful behavior, he says. “And if we become aware, it’s certainly something we would investigate.”
Penn reiterated that as inaugural preparations are underway, the situation remains “fluid” and plans are subject to change. They’ve had staff assigned to inauguration efforts for weeks now, he says, but the events of the last ten days have changed some previous plans.
Penn added that the county is in constant contact with regional, state, and federal agencies and Arlington is committed to sharing both intelligence and resources with those partners.
“Our goal, collectively, is to make sure that we’re ensuring the safety of this region and doing everything proactively that we can to be prepared for that, have good response plans, and have appropriate numbers of staff,” he says.”
That could mean road closures. As of right now, no road closures are planned but discussions are underway about the potential necessity of doing that.
Same for potentially implementing a curfew, like last Wednesday.
“I think the curfew would depend on the situation at the time. There has been some minimal conversation about that, but there’s no plan to do that at this point,” Penn says.
Travel options Arlington and the District will be limited between. D.C. has announced road closures and Metro has announced numerous downtown Metro closures. Heeding the advice of local officials, Arlington Democrats have arranged special inauguration events in Arlington, in lieu of heading to the District.
ACPD is encouraging anyone who spots suspicious activity on Inauguration Day or in the days leading up to it, particularly in areas where crowds gather — “shopping centers, restaurant districts, religious services, and public transportation hubs to name a few” — to report it immediately.
“The more we work collectively as a community, the safer we’re going to be,” Penn said. “We’re always better when we’re working as a large team in the Arlington community.”