Insurrection attempt puts Mount Rainier police on high alert


Michael Theis/Route 1 Reporter

A Mount Rainier police vehicle sits in a parking lot.

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After an apparent ad-hoc pro-Trump insurrection attempt in Congress, Mount Rainier and Brentwood police departments said they deployed extra police officers at key intersections along Eastern Avenue and Route 1 as a show of force to disuade pro-Trump “caravans” from entering and causing disturbances in local neighborhoods as they returned to hotels along the Route 1 corridor. 

“The events in D.C. today are aberrant,” read a press release from Mount Rainier Police Department issued 5 p.m. Wednesday. “We have information that those engaged in anarchy and chaos in D.C. may use Route 1 to access hotels in Maryland. As such, we must make every effort to protect the community from chaos and disorder.”

The move is extraordinarily notable for the small suburban Prince George’s County police departments. While they border Washington, D.C., they normally are unaffected by protest actions in downtown. But Wednesday was also extraordinarily notable for the nation, which watched as protestors whipped into a frenzy by President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in a violent, abortive attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election. 

This was not normal, said Mount Rainier Chief of Police Anthony Morgan in an interview. 

“I would say this was an unprecedented event. It was so outside the norm of what we would expect to see during a confirmation process of the electoral college,” said Morgan. “Because of the unpredictability of an event like this, it’s incumbent on law enforcement…that we do what it takes.” 

Morgan said the Mount Rainier Police Department received information Wednesday afternoon from other law enforcement agencies that individuals engaged in “disorder” at the Capitol were staying in hotels along the Route 1 corridor.

“So obviously we wanted to be prepared this evening to ensure that we would do the best to ensure that if there was going to be any sort of incident, we were prepared to stop it,” said Morgan. 

“Obviously, there’s a very robust law enforcement-intelligence operation in this area, and if we get information that a caravan is making their way along Route 1, then we would look to stop that access into the city,” said Morgan. 

Normally, the city deploys three patrol officers during a typical shift. Starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Morgan put a total of 14 officers on duty.

‘We got the intelligence in the early afternoon and we called everyone based on that,” said Morgan. 

As of 7:45 p.m., when Route 1 Reporter interviewed Morgan, no incidents of note had occurred. 

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