Associated Press
November 21, 2008

Law enforcement officials bracing for the largest crowds in inaugural history are preparing far-reaching security — thousands of video cameras, sharpshooters, air patrols — to safeguard President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

People attending the ceremony and parade on Jan. 20 can expect to be searched by machines, security personnel or both. Precautions will range from the routine — magnetometers like those used at airports — to countersnipers trained to hit a target the size of a teacup saucer from 1,000 yards away. Plus undercover officers, bomb sniffing dogs and air patrols.

The Secret Service — the agency coordinating the security — also has assigned trained officials to identify and prevent cyber security risks. And, as it does at every inauguration, the service has mapped out escape routes for the 44th president.

In addition Washington’s 5,265 surveillance cameras, spread around the city, are expected to be fed into a multi-agency command center.

“When you have an event like the inauguration, the more eyes we have in and around the city the better off we are,” District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. Streets will be closed within seven-to-eight blocks on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, and two-to-three blocks around each inaugural ball site, she said.

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