AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Department sent about 50 officers to help out during Wednesday's Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. The rest of the department will be in Austin on tactical alert in case any safety issues arise from local demonstrations.
As the 46th President of the United States officially takes his place in the Oval Office, 49 Austin police officers will be standing by the Washington Metropolitan Police and the National Guard.
"I think that’s it’s more important than ever that we contribute to the effort to keep our president safe," said APD Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon.
It's the fifth time Austin police officers have contributed to the security at a Presidential Inauguration ceremony. "Over the years, we’ve really felt that it’s our responsibility to contribute to making sure that, just like if we had a large event where we put out the call, that we are there to support our law enforcement partners," Chacon said.
However, this year, the Austin Police Department also has to prepare for possible problems at home.
"We sent a smaller contingent of officers to Washington, D.C., to make sure we kept enough here, so that we had everything that we needed here to make sure Austin was safe because that is our number one priority," said Chacon.
Although APD said their communications with the FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety have not found any credible threats in the Austin area, that doesn't mean the department isn't preparing for safety concerns. "The department is on tactical alert and will remain on tactical alert until further notice," Chacon said.
"They are ready to respond in a moment's notice, with all the gear that they would need to go into any type of mobile field force type of scenario, where crowd control may be necessary," he added.
So far, APD said there is no indication that groups from outside of the Austin area will show up at the State Capitol Wednesday.
Governor Greg Abbott said DPS officers will be on Capitol grounds ready to respond to any kind of threats there. "I feel confident that we will make it through the Inauguration Day without incident in Austin, Texas, or elsewhere around the State of Texas," Abbott said.
The D.C. Metro police will be paying for APD's involvement in the Presidential Inauguration ceremony.
Austin police will also be on standby at City Hall and APD headquarters in case there are any demonstrations at those locations.