After the insurrection at the Capitol Building Jan. 6, tensions surrounding Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration are high.
So is the need for tight and skilled security on Inauguration Day, which is Jan. 20.
Law enforcement in Washington, D.C., will have a handful of Anna Maria Island’s finest to help.
Six island officers were headed to the nation’s capital this week to help the U.S. Secret Service, the federal coordinator for security at the inauguration.
Officers Roy Joslin and Devon Straight are the Bradenton Beach Police Department’s choices to attend, according to BBPD Chief Sam Speciale.
Sgt. Mike Walker and Officers Christine LaBranche, Lee Diehl and Adam DeSantis from the Holmes Beach Police Department also are to attend the inauguration, according to HBPD Chief Bill Tokajer.
Tokajer told The Islander Jan. 13 that he is excited for his officers to participate.
“It is an honor,” Tokajer said. “It’s pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the officers. …Just being able to participate in something like an inauguration is an honor.”
“The fact that we can help out from our small little part of the world is something we’re very happy with,” he added.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Joslin said about being selected as one of BBPD’s attending officers. “I was very surprised and excited when I was asked. And it’s definitely a privilege.”
However, Joslin expressed “mixed feelings” about serving as security amid the political turmoil that led to the insurrection Jan. 6 and the loss of life, including the deaths of two U.S. Capitol Police.
“Obviously, I’m happy to be there but, then again, I don’t want something major to go down,” Joslin said. “If something happens to me and Officer Straight … with only 10 full-time officers in Bradenton Beach, if two of us go down, that’s not going to look too good — but I don’t think that’ll ever happen. Hopefully.”
Joslin said he and Straight would leave for the capital Jan. 18 and, later that day, be sworn into service for the inauguration.
He said they would learn Jan. 19 more about their roles and where they would be stationed for the inauguration.
“It’s going to be more detailed when we get there,” Joslin said. “But I believe we’re going to have to be out there by around 3 a.m. …And I think it gets over with somewhere close to midnight.”
“It’ll be very busy, with no sleep,” he continued. “But I’m just happy to go up there and be used as whatever I need to be used as to make sure everything’s secure.”
Tokajer said plans for the officers to attend were in the works for 6-8 months and the violence Jan. 6 didn’t change any minds about going.
“This is a time when they need more officers who are well-trained and know the right thing to do,” Tokajer said. “It would be wrong of us — when we know that they need more people than they presently have — to say ‘no.’”
“The event that happened this last week, although horrific, does not sway us from us going and assisting another law enforcement agency and making sure everything is safe,” he continued.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office substation in Anna Maria did not respond to calls Jan. 14 and Jan. 15 from The Islander.