VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — This week, nearly 50 Virginia Beach police officers volunteered to keep the peace at an event — and a time in our political history — when the potential for violence was very real.
Two weeks after an insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead including a police officer, Washington, D.C. geared up to protect the inauguration. We all saw the military, but another force was also standing guard.
“The mood was, you don’t know what you’re going into, and once we got there, you could sense it was tense in the atmosphere,” said Beach Officer Jude Brenya.
The Virginia Beach contingent assisted the Secret Service and other federal law enforcement, and was under the command of the DC Metro Police. And the millions who watched the presidential limousine roll through the District to the White House on television got a much better view of the event than Brenya.
“Our detail was supposed to look for outside threats, so we were not allowed to look at the motorcade, just making sure that there’s no other threat coming in,” Brenya said.
Fortunately for Brenya and his fellow officers, no threats were coming in, not even any protests where they were posted near the Lincoln Memorial.
It was just a fulfilling experience to add to their careers, to be in Washington to help at the inauguration. Plus, the officers even got to take a picture with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.
Virginia Beach Detective Emily West has no children, but “many nieces and nephews.”
“My family has been calling me and asking how [the inauguration] was, and my nephew called and told me to tell him all about it,” she said.
“It was a great experience and good memories that I’m gonna cherish for the rest of my life,” Brenya said.
The Virginia Beach officers were among an estimated 3,000 from departments across the country who helped support the inauguration.