It began at 0500 hours when I went to the DC National Guard Armory to swear in 500 National Guard folks as special police to assist on the parade route. Posted the parade route with the National Guard, my branch of police and other DC police from across the city. At the conclusion of the parade I went to the station and changed into my class A uniform and began another assignment.
I was in charge of security at the Capital Hilton where there was one of many inaugural balls. Newly elected president Clinton and his wife showed up about 10:30 pm and stayed about 30 minutes. Finally, at their departure I made sure all my officers had dinner and I sat down to have so myself as it had been a long time between meals. Just as the last fork left my mouth my pager went off, directing me to call communications. I was informed the the DC prison in Lorton, Va. had been taken over by the inmates and they had set the administration building there on fire and all the inmates were out in the prison yard starting more fires. I was ordered to get all the officers under my command to expedite to the prison and lock it down.
I expedited, lights and siren, with 20 marked cars with all of those working the Hilton with me. As we traveled the 25 miles or so and approached the prison we could see the large fire at a distance. When we arrived the local fire department was at the closed gate but would not enter to fight the fire because inmates were running loose in the prison yard but still contained inside the high perimeter fence. I was given maps and diagrams of the whole prison complex by a prison officer and briefed on the situation.
I began to plan and post officers, both mine and additional forces as they arrive. They were all armed up from the tactical truck that came in with special munitions and arms. With the plan in place, a sufficient force ready and armed up the front gate was opened an the officers moved in. It was a bitterly cold night and all I had on was my class A uniform, (not meant to be protection against the cold. As the night progress the inmates were gather up and put into cells. A few hours into the work a DC police truck showed up with military surplus winter parkas. Those that needed them got them, including yours truly. An hour after sunrise all the prisoners had been found and locked down.
The fire department extinguished all the fires and several hundred police officers mingled around the prison gate. Low and behold an unexpected visitor arrived to cheering officers. It was the Faternal Order of Police food van fully stocked. Everyone enjoyed a hot and delicious breakfast of all they could eat. When everyone was fed I went to the van and was served. Best eggs and bacon I belief I every had. Insuring all was back in order and under control we departed at 10:00 am. Interesting 29 hour tour of duty.