Close to 100 Minnesota law enforcement officers head to presidential inaugural festivities in DC

In years past, Minnesota has sent approximately 200 law enforcement officers to Washington, D.C. for presidential inaugurations. But this year is a little different with about half as many officers making the trip for 2021.

The Hopkins Police Department sent seven officers Monday morning. Chief Brent Johnson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the officers chosen from his department are “excited” about the opportunity, and they also had some nervousness about this year’s inauguration.

“This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the officers from our department and they are looking forward to it,” Johnson said. “We had conversations about not sending anyone this year, but we think our group will be safe with inner-ring security and primarily parade security detail.”

Johnson said the officers who are headed to D.C. are veteran officers and have the training needed to handle anything that might arise.

“I think they all realize this is a rare chance to do something like this, and they are welcoming the challenge and are definitely ready,” Johnson said. “It will be long days for a few days, but they have been through long shifts and long details in the past.”

Hopkins and Blaine police departments told KSTP they are sending a combined total of 22 officers, while the Hennepin and Anoka County Sheriff’s Offices are sending a combined total of 65 deputies to Washington, D.C.

Rich Stanek is the former Hennepin County Sheriff and currently is a private law enforcement consultant. He told KSTP there are primarily two reasons Minnesota is not sending as many offices this year compared to years past.

“I think this year COVID-19 concerns and staffing levels played a big role in departments deciding to keep officers closer to home,” said Stanek. “Also, you have agencies like St. Paul PD, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol who have to concern themselves with protecting government property in their own backyards right now."